Bargain-Hunting Blues

Dearest Rachel – Back in the day, on the years when we were downstate visiting your folks over Christmas, we would generally make a habit of driving those five minutes or so to the edge of town, where the big box stores were located, in order to go shopping for after-Christmas bargains the day afterContinue reading “Bargain-Hunting Blues”

Among the Savages

Dearest Rachel – I am of the understanding that, in that last hour before wakefulness, our mind puts us through R.E.M. sleep for the purpose of getting us ready for the day. On rare occasions, the dreams it generates appear to be so much like our normal life that we find ways to deal withContinue reading “Among the Savages”

The Thrill of the Hunt

Dearest Rachel – One of the particular advantages of still being far out of sorts, with regard to time zones (not to mention suffering from the effects of the food coma kicking in early on in the fourth quarter between New York and Dallas, not that I had any concern about the outcome of thatContinue reading “The Thrill of the Hunt”

The Lengths Gone To

Dearest Rachel – I don’t recall the family ordering Thanksgiving pies from Baker’s Square before, to be honest. Or maybe it’s just that I was never tasked with picking them up before. In any event, it never crossed my mind as to what to expect when I got there. I’d planned on picking up lunchContinue reading “The Lengths Gone To”

Shopportunities

Dearest Rachel – The first time we heard this phrase was the last time we were in Israel. Our guide, Irad, claimed no credit for it; he had, on a recent tour previous, been asked about them from a pair of twenty-something girls, and liked the expression so much as to ask permission to borrowContinue reading “Shopportunities”

Praise Allah, It’s Thursday

Dearest Rachel – I gather that just by using this title, I’m marking myself as an impious infidel; however, I can’t help but wonder if, since their day of worship is tomorrow, and they party tonight, whether Muslims have a similar attitude toward Thursday evening as we Westerners tend to think of Friday, and thankContinue reading “Praise Allah, It’s Thursday”

Preparations and Purchases

Dearest Rachel – You were instructing me to help you out in finding a protective screen for your touchscreen computer, as you were planning on taking it with on our travels. You seemed to be looking forward to the trip. For my part, I didn’t know how to react to your request. I hadn’t intendedContinue reading “Preparations and Purchases”

Like a Drunken Sailor

Dearest Rachel – Most people would rather not be thought of as profligate when it comes to their spending habits; I certainly don’t. Sure, my family raised me to be generous with regard to giving (and I’ll get to that later on), but they also taught me to be prudent with what money came myContinue reading “Like a Drunken Sailor”

Girls and the Golden Cocoons

Dearest Rachel – This letter will have to wait for a couple of days; as I mentioned in the last one I wrote you, I had to do some shopping for my sister’s birthday present, so this needs to wait until I’ve actually given it to her, lest I run the risk of spoiling theContinue reading “Girls and the Golden Cocoons”

One Feature After Another

Dearest Rachel – There are some mornings when I wonder what I’m going to tell you about; there are others where I have the odd dream or two. And then there are mornings like today. I’m just hoping I can remember everything that passed before my eyes last night, and write them all down beforeContinue reading “One Feature After Another”

Battle Plans

Dearest Rachel – I can’t guess as to how much you still remember of your past life on this plane – especially things from so long ago (although, for all I know, you might be able to see the distant past just as well as the relatively recent, from your perspective), but I’m reminded today,Continue reading “Battle Plans”

Time to Shop

Dearest Rachel – It’s one of those things that I’ve never really gotten a good handle on, despite having had the need to since your absence. Usually, if I’m going shopping, it’s just for one or two things in particular, not a whole list of them. And, as I’ve pointed out before, I usually findContinue reading “Time to Shop”

September Morn

Dearest Rachel – You would think that, of a holiday weekend, there would be more children playing in their lawns, more people out and about working around the house or walking their pets. It’s not as if I’m out and about at an obscenely early hour in the morning, after all; yes, I woke upContinue reading “September Morn”

At Home For Once

Dearest Rachel – I realize the place has changed dramatically since your departure; you would hardly recognize the kitchen, and its new layout. Even I forget where some things are stored nowadays (in fact, I still couldn’t find enough trivets to go around last night, even though I know there’s more than the one IContinue reading “At Home For Once”

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”

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”

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”

What I’m In For

Dearest Rachel – It’s just about nine in the morning, and I’m back to wandering around that strip mall I talked about last night. I have a little bit more purpose in this morning’s walk, as I’ve realized what I’ve forgotten to pack (and which you would have taken care of, so I would neverContinue reading “What I’m In For”

Goodie!

Dearest Rachel – It’s the sort of thing that gamblers at the craps tables always talk about needing, and it’s the last of my Christmas presents – at least, until such time as some girl comes into my life to take your place in our home and family (although I suspect that will be anContinue reading “Goodie!”

Digging Out From the Accumulation

Dearest Rachel – So last night, they were predicting that we would get a serious case of precipitation throughout today. It was to start with rain around midnight (because at that point it was around 40°F or so), and turn to snow overnight. The good thing was that we up in the northwest side wereContinue reading “Digging Out From the Accumulation”

Glass Ceilings, Floors and Faces

Dearest Rachel – You hear talk a lot about the glass ceiling, that tantalizing sight above women in the career marketplace preventing them from the advancement they might otherwise be entitled to. You were never much for that, having no desire for a career as far as I could tell. In any event, it’s aContinue reading “Glass Ceilings, Floors and Faces”

Bit Insulting, Innit?

Dearest Rachel – Today’s song is a bit of a paradox. I’ve never actually listened to it until today (I mean, we’ve heard it a number of times, but actually listened to it? Hardly). In any event, let’s get it out of the way before I start in on it: As I understand it, itContinue reading “Bit Insulting, Innit?”

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”

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”

Getting My Ten Cents Worth

Dearest Rachel – I probably shouldn’t do this, but boredom – and the ability to move about – can cause one to make some, let’s say, questionable financial decisions. Of course, they weren’t particularly big deals, especially in comparison to all the spending that I’ve been doing in the last two days (not all ofContinue reading “Getting My Ten Cents Worth”

‘Lost’ in Basel

Dearest Rachel – It’s a bit of a misnomer to say this about myself. Especially in the daytime; the old city isn’t that big that you can truly get lost in it. You just aren’t where you want to be. I determined that I wanted to check out the Cartoonmuseum; the Kunstmuseum is just aContinue reading “‘Lost’ in Basel”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Empty Reminders

Dearest Rachel – It doesn’t really follow to mourn a place you never patronized, but we always agreed it was said to see a business leave the area, regardless. Every empty restaurant, even one that we never got around to visiting, is still a blight on the landscape for sitting vacant. And let’s not getContinue reading “Empty Reminders”

Mercenary Worship

Dearest Rachel – You know, ordinarily something like a dream about Christmas shopping would be more of a nightmare – and let’s be honest, this Christmas is both going to be a lot easier (in terms of not having to wrack my brain trying to find something that you might truly want or enjoy) andContinue reading “Mercenary Worship”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Amblin’ About

Dearest Rachel – Sorry to disappoint you, but this entry isn’t going to be about old Steve Spielberg’s film studio – not even the bit about the Animaniacs, as much as we might have loved them. This is an anime convention, after all. None of this American garbage here, now. This was supposed to beContinue reading “Amblin’ About”

A Pallet of Pop

Dearest Rachel – You know, I’m a trip to the supermarket really shouldn’t wreck me, especially not after all this time. And yet, here we are from time to time. The thing is, I almost never went to Meier on my own. While I’m sure you went by yourself more often than not, I almostContinue reading “A Pallet of Pop”