Let’s Try This Again…

Dearest Rachel – I’m fully aware of the fact that most of the things that are happening to me these days that I keep informing you of are fairly little things, when looked at dispassionately. A swollen thumb is as nothing compared to the loss of a limb, say, or (more to the point) theContinue reading “Let’s Try This Again…”

The Weekend That Just as Well Wasn’t

Dearest Rachel – Friday, May 27 I don’t know what it is; maybe it’s just the fact that I’m holing up in the man cave while Daniel and Logan watch anime together downstairs; maybe it’s that I’m watching a channel we used to view together (and, to be honest, you seemed to enjoy more thanContinue reading “The Weekend That Just as Well Wasn’t”

Wearing Down the Grindstone

Dearest Rachel – I think that, as long as I continue to write you every day, I’m not going to be able to let the 23rd of the month pass without comment. Much as I’d like to get over it, I don’t think it’s possible for me to do so for the foreseeable future, unlessContinue reading “Wearing Down the Grindstone”

In Your Stead

Dearest Rachel – I always knew that I could find someone to replace you, but if I find someone to do the things we used to do together, that would be sufficient for the time being. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be the only one who needed someone to take your place,Continue reading “In Your Stead”

I Wish I Had Taken More Pictures

Dearest Rachel – So, last night we met the girls for dinner. I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit of a fire drill; not gonna specify, either, because I’m not sure which nationality applies here – Chinese, Bavarian, or some other – and regardless, it’d probably be racist, or at least ethnist, to doContinue reading “I Wish I Had Taken More Pictures”

Comic Timing

Dearest Rachel – They say the difference between drama and comedy is mostly a matter of timing. If that’s so, it would explain why I tend to be the straight man amongst our friends, despite being the ‘weird’ one among my colleagues. The day has been a series of mis-timed misadventures, so I figure IContinue reading “Comic Timing”

It Won’t Be This Quiet Again

Dearest Rachel – I’m actually overstating things. There may yet be a couple of more days when I’m home and Daniel is off doing his own thing. And once the rooms are done, and the contractors are gone, I expect we may go back to our typical routines, leaving the house fairly silent from timeContinue reading “It Won’t Be This Quiet Again”

Ready Or Not

Dearest Rachel – There are days when life comes at you fast, like a tree at the bottom of a hill. Other days can just seem to creep along, like the one when the remodeling crew is supposed to be arriving – it’s been pushed back yet another day, wouldn’t you know, to Tuesday (edit:Continue reading “Ready Or Not”

If It’s Northbrook, Forget It

Dearest Rachel – I think I should feel sorry for the good citizens of Northbrook, Illinois. If my experience is any indication, they will never be able to call someone out of the blue and get a willing response. That’s because so many of these stupid robo-call emanate from their town. What’s even crazier isContinue reading “If It’s Northbrook, Forget It”

It’s Just Another Day, Innit?

Dearest Rachel – I still have that balloon that Our Father allowed to drop on our driveway last year at this time, and let me pretend was from you. It’s long since gone flat in a bin in the basement, but I can’t help but treasure it, as I don’t think I can expect suchContinue reading “It’s Just Another Day, Innit?”

Muzzling the Help

Dearest Rachel – Well, it’s almost time. I’ve gotten word from the installers, and they’ll be out to begin work in either two or three weeks from now. With that in mind, I need to pack everything up from the kitchen and the laundry room. That means enlisting Jan’s help, and getting together as manyContinue reading “Muzzling the Help”

Some Days Are Just Like That

Dearest Rachel – Way back in the early 90s, when we were still able to – and inclined to – go out to the movies, there were a number of films that stuck with us, however average and unremarkable they might have been in retrospect. One of them was a film called Mermaids, which featuredContinue reading “Some Days Are Just Like That”

Taking Delivery

Dearest Rachel – This morning started with a confusing jumble of images and story. It’s probably why it’s so hard to relate dreams to someone else; it’s hard to unravel the storyline, even for yourself. Had I gone back in time, or was I running through an alternate universe where the accident hadn’t happened? WasContinue reading “Taking Delivery”

It Shouldn’t Be Slower At Home

Dearest Rachel – You know how, after some vacations, you’ve been places and done things such that you’re worn out from the exertion of going on that vacation? The sort where you come back thinking, “Gosh, it’s kind of ironic to admit it, but I need a vacation after my vacation?” Yeah, this wasn’t reallyContinue reading “It Shouldn’t Be Slower At Home”

Fearing the Echo

Dearest Rachel – I never met the dogs you grew up with: Crispin, who was your mother’s when she met your dad while teaching at university (Their story was an interesting ‘meet-cute,’ and one rife with all manner of battles for employment rights within the academic field and what not, but they’re not particularly relevantContinue reading “Fearing the Echo”

Forecasting Follies

Dearest Rachel – Aside from the fact that I don’t want the responsibility – and cannot fathom why anybody else would – I have certain… ideas… that probably would suggest that I shouldn’t be trusted with the reins of any sort of power. I’m not a big fan of the psychic community, for instance. Personally,Continue reading “Forecasting Follies”

A Question of Timing

Dearest Rachel – So often in life, things turn on a matter of timing. We are in the middle of the Olympics at the moment – not that anyone’s watching, as it seems to have been determined that neither China nor those that kowtow to it are worthy of support – where the difference betweenContinue reading “A Question of Timing”

Shades of Morning

Dearest Rachel – I’ve begun to acclimatize myself to the fact that Daniel is awake and in his rocking chair by the time I’ve showered and gotten dressed in the morning (especially since, these days, I’ve taken to writing to you as I dry off from said shower). I’ve convinced myself that it’s partly dueContinue reading “Shades of Morning”

Steering Me Wrong

Dearest Rachel – I’ve been driving for almost forty years – I probably should pull over and get a cup of coffee now again. But what’s been happening to my car is something I’ve never experienced before, and it’s getting me a little bit worried. I’ve been able to manage for a couple of days,Continue reading “Steering Me Wrong”

Bluffing With Cards in Hand

Dearest Rachel – Well, sometimes these things resolve themselves. It turned out that, while Erin and Ellen weren’t going to be available, I got a text from Kerstin asking whether we were getting together Friday night – guess she was getting used to it being a weekly thing, for which I don’t blame her. SinceContinue reading “Bluffing With Cards in Hand”

Define ‘Okay’

Dearest Rachel – The other night, I received one of those regular emails from Nightelf. You know the sort; the kind of elaborate narrative that inspired me to begin writing you – although what I lack in erudition, I try to make up for in quantity. Between a career in academia in certain other lifeContinue reading “Define ‘Okay’”

Snow, Man!

Dearest Rachel – There are so many reasons why I wish you were still here. I’ve gone on and on about a number of them throughout the course of this last year; I don’t need to bore you with the details right now, since I’ve been doing that all this time. One of those reasonsContinue reading “Snow, Man!”

Return on Investment

Dearest Rachel – This past week, when the girls were over for our every other Friday get together, Ellen and I were together in the kitchen, talking about old times. She is the one person I can talk to when I want to reminisce about you, as her memory is stronger than mine, and goesContinue reading “Return on Investment”

Heartbreaking Snow

Dearest Rachel – Readers’ Digest was fond of saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ but this story from the regular feature of that name, like most medicines, comes off rather bitter these days. The story goes that an older gentleman was looking out over his snow-covered driveway, and turned to his teenage son toContinue reading “Heartbreaking Snow”

Good Charlotte

Dearest Rachel – It would seem that our resident spider is back again, or perhaps her progeny. I don’t always – or even often – see her there, but she’s something of a fixture in the master bathroom. We have occasionally seen spiders there throughout the time we’ve owned this house. Why the master bathroom,Continue reading “Good Charlotte”

Of Reindeer Skins and Dreams of Summer

Dearest Rachel – I found myself dreaming of summer last night. Nothing special, no remarkable scenes I can remember or tell you about. Just warmth and… yeah, that’s pretty much it. I think it comes from too many reindeer skins. You know what I’m talking about. It’s been a long-standing family joke, ever since myContinue reading “Of Reindeer Skins and Dreams of Summer”

from Rachel: It Takes Time

“May 20 “I need to be more patient and persistent in trying to establish a daily routine of spending a few minutes with Jesus first thing in the morning. I manage most days for a week or two, but it doesn’t start to immediately become a comfortable habit or something I miss if I don’tContinue reading “from Rachel: It Takes Time”

Betting Our Lives

Dearest Rachel – Well. Thank heavens that wasn’t anything more than a dream. I couldn’t tell you the specifics, exactly. And in fact, it probably doesn’t make any difference as to who the teams were that were involved, other than the fact that they were playing football. All that really matters is that time wasContinue reading “Betting Our Lives”

Nothing Worth Celebrating

Dearest Rachel – Well, 2021 is finally over with, and good riddance to bad rubbish. I can’t imagine how a year could have been worse than this. Now, I’ve been admonished not to phrase my observation so, because it’s like tempting fate. Asking “how could things get worse?” is a surefire way to actually findContinue reading “Nothing Worth Celebrating”

Time and a Half

Dearest Rachel – Back when I was studying calligraphy in junior high, I drew up a motto for my great-aunt Belva that read “Keep serving the Lord: the pay may not be good, but the retirement plan is out of this world.” I’m sure it was lost in the cleanup after her passing (amazing toContinue reading “Time and a Half”

A Cinnamon Roll for Christmas Eve

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned yesterday about picking up a little more than dinner at the mall the other night. And yes, it made the whole trip there that much longer, what with there being a line there every bit as long as each other place I stopped (including twice at the pretzel shop, asContinue reading “A Cinnamon Roll for Christmas Eve”

Funny False Alarms

Dearest Rachel – I won’t go so far as to say there is nothing funnier than a false alarm. I’ve stood outside the dorm room at three or four in the morning with a cold and a then-ineffective dose of Nyquil in my system after spiders apparently got into the fire alarm system at Wesleyan,Continue reading “Funny False Alarms”

Mischief Managed

Dearest Rachel – I was just reading the other day something about J. K. Rowling; I think it was somebody admiring her political stands in the face of, how shall we say, rather rabid opposition. The author of the piece actually commented how they weren’t a big fan of the Harry Potter series (being moreContinue reading “Mischief Managed”

In Need of a Jump Start

Dearest Rachel – You’d think, that after nodding off in the recliner sometime between nine and ten last night (I don’t remember exactly when; after all, I was asleep), I wouldn’t have any problem getting up early this morning. you think I wouldn’t have the need to slap the snooze button three times in aContinue reading “In Need of a Jump Start”

Missing the Clicks

Dearest Rachel – I don’t mind telling you, now that I’m home relatively safe and sound, I find myself wondering what to write to you about such that I’ll get the kind of attention that I’ve had for the past week or two. I’m not going to make any secret of the fact that IContinue reading “Missing the Clicks”

Culture Stunned

Dearest Rachel – Over the last week and a half, I’ve said a number of times about how ‘what’s mundane for one person is exotic for another.’ Naturally, it stands to reason that this situation goes both ways. What’s particularly weird is how it’s happened to me in both directions. I can’t say that IContinue reading “Culture Stunned”

Winding Up for Winding Down

Dearest Rachel – Monday morning in Basel, and I think I’ve had the most solid sleep of my time here; went to bed around eleven, and didn’t wake up until seven-thirty. May have dreamed about solving some problems back at the old workplace, but it’s hardly worth commenting upon. I’m feeling like I should takeContinue reading “Winding Up for Winding Down”

from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ

“May 14 “Just when I had almost caught up, I come to two days too full to do more than read a page or two. Wednesday included a trip to the DMV and finishing my last BSF lesson. Thursday was my next-to-last BSF day, and then getting ready for the weekend because ACen begins today!Continue reading “from Rachel: Created to Become Like Christ”

Three Hundred Days

Dearest Rachel – Upon sending you my last letter, about the man yelling at the intercom outside the police headquarters, I received a ping from the WordPress application. In some ways it wasn’t much different from those that I get every day, complete with the standard ‘keep up the good work’ encouragement. But today wasContinue reading “Three Hundred Days”

Not Quite Soundproof

Dearest Rachel – Last night wasn’t the soundest sleep I’ve ever had in my life. Sometimes I forget that, while hotel rooms are built to individualize each guest’s experience, they aren’t completely soundproof, either. Thankfully, that isn’t to say that other guests have disturbed my sleep. I will hear the occasional knocking about in theContinue reading “Not Quite Soundproof”

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”

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…”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Is It Really ‘Just A Number’?

Dearest Rachel – In my continued adventures in online dating, I’ve noticed that ones who have been responding to me have tended to be younger than myself. Coming from a cultural background where that’s more the rule than the exception (sure, there are plenty of couples where both are more or less the same age,Continue reading “Is It Really ‘Just A Number’?”

Open Door Policy

…As I told you, the door to my office is always open. I think you know why it’s always open – that was stolen, I’d like that returned. Bob Newhart, Captain’s remarks from “The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish,” The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1960) Dearest Rachel – I used to think that oursContinue reading “Open Door Policy”

And I Say, “It’s All Right”

Dearest Rachel – Well, after two whole days of barely acknowledging us, it seems that the sun is back, and it’s nice to see him. Even if he is in my face in either direction that I walk. Not that that’s a complaint I’m ever going to take up with my grandchildren: “You kids haveContinue reading “And I Say, “It’s All Right””

As Lazy as the Sun

Dearest Rachel – There is a disadvantage to untethering ourselves from the likes of alarm clocks and whatnot, relying solely on our own circadian rhythms to determine when to wake up. As the days grow shorter, and the sun gets up that much later every day, so we find ourselves sleeping in as well, becomingContinue reading “As Lazy as the Sun”

from Rachel: What Matters Most

“I feel the need to disagree with the author to a certain extent. I agree that relationships are very important and should be a top priority. I agree that in every situation the best way to treat everyone is with love. However I am a very social creature already and do lots of things thatContinue reading “from Rachel: What Matters Most”

A Saturday Off

Dearest Rachel – There’s about two hundred guys up at camp this weekend. Neither Daniel nor I are among them. Needless to say, this Saturday seems… off. Normally, at this hour, I’d be returning from the Bible study, probably after running an errand or two in the process. I won’t say that I’ve been thereContinue reading “A Saturday Off”

Mysterious Magazines

Dearest Rachel – Well, your magazine arrived yesterday, like it always has every month for years on end. We’ve never figured out where they came from, or who ordered them for us… or who’s paying for them. Somehow I doubt it’s Bryan Hamilton. I do have at least one conjecture. In your folks’ waning days,Continue reading “Mysterious Magazines”

Hurry Up and Wait

Dearest Rachel – Sometimes, the stories that I have planned to tell you have to be set aside. Not everything is urgent; not everything is time-sensitive. But sometimes, things come up. And that basically sums up today. So any story having to do with the dating app will need to wait for another day. IContinue reading “Hurry Up and Wait”

Public Cake

Dearest Rachel – Let me start out by saying that this is not a love story. And I feel like I should be apologizing for that. This whole collection of letters to you were supposed to be an outpouring of love and reminiscences about our time together and what you meant to me. And whileContinue reading “Public Cake”

A Kiss Atop the Lid

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know if you remember that scene in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns where Serena Kyle enters her apartment with that stock line, “Hi honey, I’m home!” followed by a quick beat, whereupon she adds, “Oh, yeah. That’s right; I live alone.” That’s what it’s like to come home these days. ItContinue reading “A Kiss Atop the Lid”

Gotta Go Slower

Dearest Rachel – It’s been about a week and a half since the last time I walked to the office. Most of last week, of course, has been because Kevin has been over, but it isn’t as if I walk every day when I actually cross town, either. Yesterday, I was concerned about the threatContinue reading “Gotta Go Slower”

Not Exactly Overtime

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know how long it’s been, but it’s been a very long time since I stayed at the ‘office’ past five o’clock. And yet, here I am. It’s one of those things I’m free to do, now that I’m not afraid that Daniel needs to be relieved from keeping an eyeContinue reading “Not Exactly Overtime”

Can’t Get Too Comfortable

Dearest Rachel – I swear, honey, I have got to learn – or perhaps, rather unlearn – about falling asleep in the rocking chair. Namely, that I really shouldn’t do that. It messes up my sleep schedule, breaking the night in half. The trouble is, it’s too comfortable in that chair. I watch videos withContinue reading “Can’t Get Too Comfortable”

Going Buy-Buy

Dearest Rachel – I let the first of the month get past me, but I was otherwise occupied with a houseguest, after all. Indeed, it wasn’t until last Thursday that I realized I had missed my Monday appointment at the mechanics for your car. Oh well, we can try again later this week, I guess.Continue reading “Going Buy-Buy”

That Much Emptier

Dearest Rachel – So Kevin just left this morning, and will likely be driving through the entirety of the day, arriving home after sunset. It’s the nature of the trip, and the distance involved. He’s going home to an emptier house than ours, which is why I really shouldn’t be complaining like I am. ButContinue reading “That Much Emptier”

Chick Magnet

Dearest Rachel – I doubt it’s only because he’s in town, but if I thought the girls would come over more often because he was, I’d invite Kevin to come back to the Chicago area on a more frequent basis. After all, this is the second time in a week they’ve been over, whereas it’sContinue reading “Chick Magnet”

Paying Down My Sleep Debt

Dearest Rachel – Shortly after getting home from the folks last night, I found myself getting sleepy what we were watching one video or another, and I decided that, rather than heading off to bed at the ridiculously early (even for me) hour of nine p.m., I would simply close my eyes and catch aContinue reading “Paying Down My Sleep Debt”

from Rachel: Developing Your Friendship with God

“May 5, 2004 “I will try to remember to pray often, ‘Dear Jesus, more than anything else, I want to get to know you intimately.’” “I need to remember that it is very important to grow closer to God, even if my main reason to want to want to is self-preservation – I would ratherContinue reading “from Rachel: Developing Your Friendship with God”

Morning Un-Routine

Dearest Rachel – The Army used to have a slogan about how “we do more before 9am than most people do all day.” Considering that I’m sitting in the veterinary parking lot, and it’s a quarter to nine, while I have to confess that while I’m not Army material, I’m at least getting started onContinue reading “Morning Un-Routine”

Not the Worst Way to Make an Impression

Dearest Rachel – Another day, another walk to the ‘office.’ With a stop or two along the way; there are always things that need to be done, after all. First of which was to stop by the bank and drop off my payment for property taxes. I know they’re not due for another week orContinue reading “Not the Worst Way to Make an Impression”

You Can Put Away Your Sunscreen

Dearest Rachel – Well, another season has come and gone. Summer is officially over. Amazing to realize that the passage of time is not an arbitrary concept, but there are physical conditions that we can observe here on earth; day and night, and the length of each defining the season of the year, even ifContinue reading “You Can Put Away Your Sunscreen”

The Only Thing That’s Never Empty

Dearest Rachel – While I’d be more than willing to admit there are so many things I’d like to have back, I would settle for being able to hear your voice, and converse with you back-and-forth. I’ve mentioned not so long ago about how I wish I could compare notes about how you dealt withContinue reading “The Only Thing That’s Never Empty”

Spot Macbeth

Dearest Rachel – No, this does not refer to some Shakespearean take on Where’s Waldo, although the idea of Martin Handford drawing a crowd in the Globe Theatre into which the actor portraying the Scottish usurper is trying to blend while being pursued by Macduff and Malcolm makes for an interesting image. Considering Handford’s BritishContinue reading “Spot Macbeth”

Credit Where It’s Due

Dearest Rachel – The girls communicate with each other at the weirdest times, it would seem. It probably shouldn’t surprise me when I see emails back-and-forth at around one in the morning, considering Erin’s graveyard shift schedule, but the fact that Ellen responds at roughly the same time comes as a surprise. Still, if that’sContinue reading “Credit Where It’s Due”

Intermittent Chaos

Dearest Rachel – It wasn’t precisely a nightmare, as such, but it was one of those dreams that you wake up from feeling quite glad that it wasn’t reality. Well the bulk of what was happening has faded from my memory, I vividly recall a mushroom cloud of fire and smoke erupting at a strangeContinue reading “Intermittent Chaos”

Trying to Think at Three a.m.

Dearest Rachel – There are some questions in my life that I can no longer give a straight answer to. “How are you doing?” Well, do you just wanna exchange pleasantries, or would you like an actual answer? “Can I help you?” Wow, do you really mean that? “Do you always respond to a questionContinue reading “Trying to Think at Three a.m.”

Resisting Resuming Responsibilities

Dearest Rachel – So I open my eyes this morning, and look at the alarm clock: it’s a quarter to seven. And I have to admit, I do not want to get up just yet. I won’t go so far as to say it’s been a grueling weekend, but I’ll allow that it wasn’t exactlyContinue reading “Resisting Resuming Responsibilities”

This Is Only A Test

Dearest Rachel – So this morning, as I finally set out to walk across town to the ‘office’ at my folks’ place, I was mildly startled by the slowly rising wail of klaxons in the air, eventually surrounding me on all sides until I was very nearly at the (all but deserted) downtown area. It’sContinue reading “This Is Only A Test”

Unsatisfying Vengeance

Dearest Rachel – It wasn’t all that long ago (as recently as the wee hours of Sunday morning, in fact) that I would take Chompers out at what I considered to be late at night – which is, as you know, anytime after 10:30 – and prepare him for bed, with all the usual bedtimeContinue reading “Unsatisfying Vengeance”

Do Nothing Slowly

Dearest Rachel – When my dad retired about ten years ago, he quoted the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige as to how he was going to spend his time: I’m going to do nothing, and do it slowly. That has summed up a number of my days since quitting my job, too – especially in thoseContinue reading “Do Nothing Slowly”

In Defiance of Entropy

Dearest Rachel – When I was a kid, I collected some book about the ‘Official Rules.’ I don’t recall if that was what was titled, but I think it may have been. These weren’t rules for a game, or instructions for anything in particular; just observations on how life worked, or didn’t. Stuff like Murphy’sContinue reading “In Defiance of Entropy”

Permission to Skip

Dearest Rachel – This may seem inappropriate, but I feel the need to address this. Less than a week ago, I admitted to you that there were times when I just didn’t feel inspired to write you, but did so nonetheless. Which, I suppose, resulted in what an editor (were I to have one) wouldContinue reading “Permission to Skip”

from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure

“4/24 “I could and should start doing house work as if I were doing it for Jesus. Especially the jobs I don’t like and generally procrastinate; washing dishes, hanging up clothes, and sorting and cleaning up messy piles.” Dearest Rachel – Interesting to see this entry now, just as I’d been learning about ‘secondary losses’Continue reading “from Rachel: Planned For God’s Pleasure”

Not the Best of Hosts

Dearest Rachel – Well, the girls came over last night. It’ll be the last time for the better part of a month, as Ellen will be out of town visiting her mom next week, and then I’ll be in Colorado on this men’s retreat the next. So, three weeks until next time. Clever me, IContinue reading “Not the Best of Hosts”

Not Feeling It

Dearest Rachel – As characters in our own dramas (or, more likely, sitcoms – has it ever occurred to anyone that those experiencing life within those sitcoms doesn’t find what’s happening to them to be funny? We are, as audience members, more likely than not laughing at their pain), we are generally oblivious to ourContinue reading “Not Feeling It”

Talking to Thin Air

Dearest Rachel – There are some days in which I have to confess I’m not all that motivated to write you these letters. Sometimes it’s that I’m distracted by other things that require me to respond to them, so I spend my writing energy on something – or someone – else, thus causing what IContinue reading “Talking to Thin Air”

Red Tape

Dearest Rachel – Last night was the Bible study on Zoom, as per usual for the last year and a half. One of the regulars generally start things off with a joke. To give you an idea of the level of humor, here was this week’s offering: Question: How do bureaucrats wrap their Christmas presents?Continue reading “Red Tape”

Leave Behind a Morsel

Dearest Rachel – Back in the 70s and 80s, my great aunt Belva participated in a ministry for international students attending Northwestern; inviting them over for a home-cooked meal, introducing them to our church community, that sort of thing. She had a great knack for keeping in touch with ‘her students’ after they graduated andContinue reading “Leave Behind a Morsel”

Poor Impulse Control

Dearest Rachel – And this… is why you never shop hungry. There’s a lot of things I’ve been doing with more frequency now that I am the lone adult in the household. Yes, yes, I know Daniel is officially an adult, but he is still a dependent child as long as he lives here, IContinue reading “Poor Impulse Control”

We Are All Hikikomori… Again

Dearest Rachel – We acknowledged it between the two of us, but rarely spoke of it outside of the home. The convocation when he first enrolled at Judson spoke of their mascot, the eagle, and how the adults made their nest less and less comfortable over time, so as to encourage their eaglets, as theyContinue reading “We Are All Hikikomori… Again”

A Touch of Nervous Energy

Dearest Rachel – What with having woken up before six o’clock on a Saturday to shower and tend to the dog (although in fairness, I actually managed to do the former without waking up the old guy! Huzzah!), making a point to attend this morning’s Bible study, followed by running about on errands until aboutContinue reading “A Touch of Nervous Energy”

Late for Dinner

Dearest Rachel – “You can call me anything you want; just don’t call me late for dinner!” It was probably one of the first jokes I was ever told by my grandfather as a little kid, and one that I never really got at that age (“what kind of name is Late For Dinner, andContinue reading “Late for Dinner”

Sleeping In Denim

Dearest Rachel – It seems there are a few memes out there about people who sleep dressed, specifically while wearing jeans… Not sure I understand what the fuss is all about. Between showering after walking home, and therefore changing afterwards (look, it’s August in Chicago – why should I stay in those sweaty clothes anyContinue reading “Sleeping In Denim”

Civic Duty Never Ends

Dearest Rachel – Out of all the mail received yesterday, the only thing that wasn’t either an advertisement or a plea for money (but I suppose I repeat myself) was a summons for you to appear for jury duty in about a month for now. I suppose, since your death was recorded in a differentContinue reading “Civic Duty Never Ends”

Ce N’est Pas un Rendez-vous

Dearest Rachel – Since both your parents were university art professors, I know you had a thorough grounding in the fine arts, including history and the like. And given your dad’s fondness for dada and surrealism, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Rene Magritte and his work. And at the moment, I’d like to call attention toContinue reading “Ce N’est Pas un Rendez-vous”