Slacking Off

Dearest Rachel – I have often commented, when we would visit Kevin or vice versa, that we aren’t exactly the best influences on him. You know that he’s been trying to watch his weight; keeping tabs on calories consumed, sodium intake and the like at various time in the past few years. And you, inContinue reading “Slacking Off”

A Wish to Return

Dearest Rachel – Last night, I found myself dreaming about our trip to San Antonio, and wishing we could go back there. I’m not entirely sure why. Oh, don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of good reasons to want to. The place we stayed at was really quite something, with its expansive room andContinue reading “A Wish to Return”

The Modesty of a Child

Dearest Rachel – It’s something of a shame, but it sometimes seems that it requires a special occasion for the family to get together at a restaurant after church these days, when that used to be a weekly tradition. Then again, this is the second week in a row that we’ve been able to doContinue reading “The Modesty of a Child”

Digging Out From Under

Dearest Rachel – Back in my relative childhood, when the local mall was actually an everything-under-one-roof-mall rather than an open-air shopping center, and bookstores were actually a thing (and the Amazon was nothing more than a really big river in South America), the place included a Kroch’s & Brentano’s that was so big it neededContinue reading “Digging Out From Under”

Filling Null Time

Dearest Rachel – I don’t know offhand whether it’s an actual scientific concept, but the idea of null space should be familiar to you, given your affinity for science fiction, particularly as a Whovian. For a budget-conscious show such as the original Doctor Who, it was an easy thing to represent; all you needed wasContinue reading “Filling Null Time”

Press ‘2’ For Snow

Dearest Rachel – I just sent the letter out to you yesterday, but I wonder if I shouldn’t make ‘Retail Therapy’ a whole new category of story for me to tell you about. There have certainly been enough purchases that I could retroactively add the category to, and I’m sure that I will make moreContinue reading “Press ‘2’ For Snow”

Musgo

Dearest Rachel – It’s one of the stranger reasons I have to contact you this evening; most meals fly under the radar, unless it’s one I put together (and while the kitchen is all but finished, I’ve not yet gotten to the point where I feel comfortable actually cooking in here, particularly when the pots,Continue reading “Musgo”

A Weekend in a Day

Dearest Rachel – It’s weird to realize how little of what I’d had lined up for this weekend would have happened were you still with me. It’s even stranger to realize how few of the plans that I thought I had actually managed to pan out. And yet, there was plenty else to rush inContinue reading “A Weekend in a Day”

Between Comedy and Tragedy

Dearest Rachel – It’s been years since I’ve been here at Walker Brothers’ pancake house. I’m pretty sure that the last time we were here (and yes, it was definitely ‘we’ at the time), it was for a similar reason; we had taken my car in to have it looked at. That’s what happens whenContinue reading “Between Comedy and Tragedy”

How Soon Until We’d Notice?

Dearest Rachel – There’s an old children’s-level joke that asks whether heat or cold is the faster, with the punchline being ‘heat… you can catch cold.’ At the risk of Aunt Florencing the joke (you’ll recall the reference, but I may have to explain this one to everyone else), I remember from even the firstContinue reading “How Soon Until We’d Notice?”

The Old Way Home

Dearest Rachel – For all my talk about taking a different way down here, you might think it’s strange that I return to our normal course of action for the trip home. After all, there’s no more reason for us to leave in a hurry than there was for us to show up down hereContinue reading “The Old Way Home”

The End of the Road

Dearest Rachel – I’m beginning to wonder if my running shoes should have come with an odometer, or some other means to indicate when I’ve gotten to the end of their useful life. They still cover and protect my feet from the elements, both above and beneath, but I can feel the difference in supportContinue reading “The End of the Road”

It Wasn’t That Important

Dearest Rachel – I can’t remember which year it was – after a certain point, they all tend to blur together, I’m afraid – but there was one other year that we couldn’t get a room in time at one of the four hotels surrounding the convention center (i.e., the Hyatt, the Hilton, the EmbassyContinue reading “It Wasn’t That Important”

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”

It’s Never ‘Just Lunch’

Dearest Rachel – I really kind of expected it to be a shorter day, in terms of being out of the house, than most, since all I had planned for the day was to meet Lars for lunch in his neighborhood. Granted, the trip to his neighborhood required budgeting the better part of an hourContinue reading “It’s Never ‘Just Lunch’”

Hard Reboot

Dearest Rachel – I know you would consider me as such, but I would deny that I’m really a ‘morning person,’ except by default. That is, I’m clearly not a night owl – I would rarely stay up past midnight, even back in college, and would usually be in bed by 10:30. But that wasContinue reading “Hard Reboot”

So Much For That

Dearest Rachel – It’s amazing, how fast things can change from one day to the next. One day, you think you have a whole lineup of plans for the foreseeable future; the next, so much of that list has been delayed, postponed or gone by the boards altogether. I don’t know when I first realizedContinue reading “So Much For That”

It’s Just Dinner…

Dearest Rachel – I’ve been led to understand that there is a dating service in the area called ‘It’s Just Lunch’, which is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin – a means for singles to get together with each other and just have lunch, without necessarily anything else to be behind it.Continue reading “It’s Just Dinner…”

Who Was That Tomato?

Dearest Rachel – During my final year in college, I took both a business class in marketing, and an art class in graphic design. I’m not entirely certain, therefore, which class introduced me to the Wolfschmidt Vodka ad campaign. Dating from either the late 50s or the early 60s, it was one of the firstContinue reading “Who Was That Tomato?”

Filled With DeTERmination

Dearest Rachel – Last night, we were over at the folks’ for dinner, as we are most every Thursday night. It’s one of those things that’s a regular part of our weekly schedule, like club on Monday, study on Wednesday, and so forth. I wonder if some day it might interfere with the possibility ofContinue reading “Filled With DeTERmination”

Breaking ‘Basel Syndrome’

Dearest Rachel – I wonder if, after November’s fiasco, whether I haven’t developed a mild case of what one might call ‘Basel Syndrome,’ where I’m simply more comfortable in my hotel room (or in this case, cabin – everything has a different name at sea, for whatever reason) than I am out wandering around andContinue reading “Breaking ‘Basel Syndrome’”

Memories of Bananas Foster

Dearest Rachel – There are so many things about this trip that seem to be reminding me of our honeymoon trip; maybe it’s just that I’m keeping track for once in my life. Before now, I might have a flash of remembrance – I might even mention it to you at the moment – butContinue reading “Memories of Bananas Foster”

Floods, Droughts and Equity

Dearest Rachel – There are things you don’t notice when they don’t apply to you. For instance, whenever I go shopping at Meijer, I pretty much ignore everything except for the grocery section; that’s basically dismissing out of hand nearly three-quarters of the store. As far as I’m concerned, the clothing, the housewares, the gardening,Continue reading “Floods, Droughts and Equity”

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”

Little Dollops of Catch-Up

Dearest Rachel – I’ve been amazed some days about how often I’m able to come up with a topic – or two, or three! – to talk to you about. It’s gotten to the point where, if I can’t come up with anything to relate, I get a little concerned. This is one of thoseContinue reading “Little Dollops of Catch-Up”

Replacing Chocolate

Dearest Rachel – You might remember, the last time we were on the island, we used up the last of one of the few remaining jars of Hershey’s spread on some marshmallows we placed in the toaster oven. Well, to be perfectly accurate, we put it on the graham crackers that we set atop thoseContinue reading “Replacing Chocolate”

Fifty-Two Weeks Ago (part three)

Dearest Rachel – I hadn’t anticipated writing a third part to this, but the way certain parts of my life have come full circle – and so many all at once – it’s a wonder I don’t get dizzy. The folks even pointed it out to me as they extended the invite last night. EvenContinue reading “Fifty-Two Weeks Ago (part three)”

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”

A Meal in Itself

Dearest Rachel – I try to remember some of the inside jokes we used to share with each other as opportunity presents itself, but sometimes, I don’t have quite what I need to put it together. For instance, this picture is as close as I can get to the particular joke I’m looking for, asContinue reading “A Meal in Itself”

A Quiet Cup of Cocoa

Dearest Rachel – Well, for all the food I managed to ply the girls with last night (and some of the stuff that they brought in turn), we never got around to the cocoa. I had been hoping to use some of the stuff that I had gotten for Christmas from ‘Santa’ (ha ha) withContinue reading “A Quiet Cup of Cocoa”

Back On the… Horse?

Dearest Rachel – Usually, after dinner at their house, Daniel and I will follow Dad into the family room to chat for an hour or so. You probably remember those days well enough when we would be invited over, although you’ll understand that it’s on more frequent – and regular – occasion these days. ForgiveContinue reading “Back On the… Horse?”

“Drives Through Storms”

Dearest Rachel – I think it must’ve happened while we were still courting; probably after we were engaged, but definitely while you were still living with your parents. I had planned to drive down to see you, despite reports of severe weather between the Chicago area and Macomb. I don’t think it was serious whereContinue reading ““Drives Through Storms””

Making the Most of Last Call

Dearest Rachel – So this is it. Effective the beginning of next week, the law comes down, not only in Chicago itself but throughout the entire county: no one may go out in public unless they have proof of vaccination. What that means is that Daniel will not be able to go out to aContinue reading “Making the Most of Last Call”

It Takes More Than Just Me

Dearest Rachel – I mentioned last night about how I needed to get this written down in some way. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to find the book in which this recipe is written, and it is one of those few responsibilities I have with regards to cooking as part of our family traditions.Continue reading “It Takes More Than Just Me”

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”

Getting Malled

Dearest Rachel – I suppose it serves me right for trying to play Postmate for Daniel and myself. You’d probably have compared my little excursion last night with the time we were on our way to choir practice before the service, and I decided to stop in at a place we rarely bothered to visit;Continue reading “Getting Malled”

Cheap Eats, If You Need Them

Dearest Rachel – So I’m back to the hotel yet again this morning, and it’s barely ten. This time, at least, I’ve gone through the antigen test (there was nobody in line! It pays to wait!) – turns out, they only needed to swab one nostril rather than the two we had to do backContinue reading “Cheap Eats, If You Need Them”

Basel Street Food

Dearest Rachel – So this isn’t really part of the series as such; but, since one still needs to eat, I might as well tell you about the food on the streets. It’s not as if I’d gotten ravenously hungry over the course of my wanderings this morning, but, with all the passing by thisContinue reading “Basel Street Food”

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”

Last Supper Here

Dearest Rachel – Just to set the record straight, I put the word ‘Here’ in the title because well, it is the last time I’m going to bother with room service, especially considering I’ve gone through basically anything on the menu that’s interesting (okay, I admit to debating about two entrees tonight, but we’ll getContinue reading “Last Supper Here”

Sounds a Little Different

Dearest Rachel – Things sound a little different in a hotel on the weekends. This isn’t exactly the tourist section of Basel; I’m of the understanding that the Pullman is rather closer to the industrial center of town, while the museums and the shopping district sit on the other side of the river. But everybodyContinue reading “Sounds a Little Different”

And Then There Was One

Dearest Rachel – Like you, I grew up with the understanding that one needed three square meals a day: the whole breakfast-lunch-dinner thing. I was a card-carrying member of the Clean Plate Club, and always tried to get my money’s worth out of the meal plan back in college. My point is, I come byContinue reading “And Then There Was One”

Relaxing the Rules

Dearest Rachel – This is the fourth in our serious on life – specifically, eating – in quarantine. So for today’s story about the things I’m eating, I have to issue a confession. I assumed that, under the American breakfast, I was only allowed to choose one of each category. You know, one of beverages,Continue reading “Relaxing the Rules”

A Little Lighter Fare

Dearest Rachel – It seems I am being encouraged to continue writing about my meals as I go from day to day. So you can consider this a third in the series. It may not be the most exotic of food, but some of it is not likely to cross my plate if and whenContinue reading “A Little Lighter Fare”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Asking For Approval

Dearest Rachel – You might’ve been aware of it back in the day, but as it wasn’t necessarily a concern of yours, it was never really discussed, but I always would – and still do – call the folks when I’m on my way to the ‘office.’ It’s not a necessary thing – I haveContinue reading “Asking For Approval”

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”

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”

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”

Sudden Drop

Dearest Rachel – Under circumstances that seemed less dire, I’d probably be soundtracking this letter with Citizen King’s “I’ve Seen Better Days,” because the bottom seems to have dropped out all of a sudden. But – since the bottom has seemed to have dropped out all of a sudden – I wonder if that wouldn’tContinue reading “Sudden Drop”

Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?

Dearest Rachel – One of the things they talked about at Grief Share last night was the difference between actively pursuing suicide, and the simple desire to no longer live. The latter is an attitude of “if you were to take me, too, God, I wouldn’t mind,” and is a fairly normal reaction to theContinue reading “Everything Looks Different in the Morning – But What About the Afternoon?”

Knowing Your Limits

Dearest Rachel – So the better part of today was spent hiking one of the trails up here in the Rocky Mountains. We started in Glacier Gorge, with the intent of going to Sky Pond. Sounds like a plan. The only thing is, that plan involves hiking 4 1/2 miles in either direction, and toContinue reading “Knowing Your Limits”

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”

Commercial Break

Dearest Rachel – As crass as I consider it to be to acknowledge it most of the time, everything in life floats upon a sea of money. Very little in life gets done until someone gets paid – or at least is given a promise that they will. Everything costs something… no free lunch, andContinue reading “Commercial Break”

Can’t Make Him Eat

Dearest Rachel – Since, like you, Daniel stays up until… I honestly don’t know when, I find myself debating as to whether or not to go out and get something for him to eat for breakfast when he does finally wake up, especially on days like today, when I intend to head across town toContinue reading “Can’t Make Him Eat”

No Ticket to Oz

Dearest Rachel – It was storming terribly last night, dear. Our home security system by the front door was beeping like a combination alarm clock and a forklift stuck in reverse, and no amount of money going forward and typing in the password which shut it up for more than five minutes, before it wouldContinue reading “No Ticket to Oz”