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 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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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””

Nine Whole Months

Dearest Rachel – No, it’s not quite been that long; believe me, I’m painfully aware of each time the twenty-third of the month has rolled around. We’ll be there in a couple of days, yes, but that’s not what this letter is about. No, what’s going on right now is something that just arrived inContinue reading “Nine Whole Months”

Good Men and Rules

Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many. The Doctor (Matt Smith), Doctor Who S06E07, “A Good Man Goes to War” Dearest Rachel – In the days when your beloved Doctor was “all teeth and curls,” as a previous incarnation snidely put it, he wouldContinue reading “Good Men and Rules”

Love & Marriage

Dearest Rachel – Happy Sweetest Day, honey. It’s weird; we never observed this holiday together. We considered ourselves fortunate enough to remember Valentine’s Day and our anniversary for each other. So why am I bothering now, seeing as I don’t have any sweetest to make a day out of this? Well, since the anniversary ofContinue reading “Love & Marriage”

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”

Surprises

Dearest Rachel – I’ll tell you, this year thus far has been absolutely full of surprises. Which means that it’s probably a good thing you’re not around to deal with them, as you hated surprises. This was particularly evident when it came to birthdays and holidays – anything having to do with gift-giving. The longContinue reading “Surprises”

Upended

Dearest Rachel – Well, that was mildly unnerving. Just last night, I was telling Ellen and Erin how much I look forward to going back to traveling; how I’d like to just be able to grab someone’s hand, tell them “pack yourself a weeks worth of clothes, girl,” grab a flight and head off. HereContinue reading “Upended”

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”

The Journey Continues Alone

Dearest Rachel – It’s been several days since I’ve gotten home, but there are still some images from the YMCA of the Rockies that struck me that I haven’t shared with you yet. Throughout the park, I observed a number of memorials set up from and of people who contributed to the park. There wasContinue reading “The Journey Continues Alone”

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?”

If You’re Wrong…

Dearest Rachel – I sort of knew it was going to happen. I arrived at the airport before one in the afternoon, and Luke advised me to try and get my name on the ‘standby’ list. And in fact, there were two flights scheduled to ORD before mine, one at 3:45 and another at 5:50.Continue reading “If You’re Wrong…”

Shooting Elk

Dearest Rachel – Don’t worry; even though I’m probably the only non-hunter in the entire group, we’re hewing to the current dictum when dealing with nature: “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.” So, photographs it is. Assuming we can find any elk to shoot. The last couple of days, we’ve only seen aContinue reading “Shooting Elk”

Disc Golf

Dearest Rachel – It’s a little hard to keep up with these letters to you out here in the mountains, especially when we’re outside doing stuff all the time. It’s why I tried to prepare a few letters beforehand to go out to you while I’m out here. Yes, there’s Wi-Fi at the lodge, butContinue reading “Disc Golf”

Into Thin Air

Dearest Rachel – I think I must be way too used to living near the largest city in flyover country. As is the plane started its descent, I was looking out the window and seeing nothing but farmland and other empty space. And I couldn’t help wondering, “Where is the city? Where are the suburbs,Continue reading “Into Thin Air”

Alone at the Airport

Dearest Rachel – I’ve insisted from fairly early on that I wanted to resume my life, and continue to see the world – just that, I wanted to find someone to share those travels with. This is not one of those trips. To be fair, you wouldn’t have been able to come on this oneContinue reading “Alone at the Airport”

Overpacked

Dearest Rachel – Yes, I know it’s only for four days – including today. But I really have no idea what I’ll need out there In Colorado, so… I’m packing a little bit of everything. Two T-shirts, two long sleeve T-shirts, two rugby shirts, two sweatshirts… and this is just for the remaining three days,Continue reading “Overpacked”

The Things Mine Eyes Have Seen

Dearest Rachel – I never got around to telling you about this, but when we were down at Kevin’s over Memorial Day weekend, I broke down and got a copy of Minecraft. Somehow, he figured out how to set up a server, and the three of us just started digging around (in survival mode, noContinue reading “The Things Mine Eyes Have Seen”

Waiting for a Table

Dearest Rachel – Since I woke up this morning with little to no memory of last nights dream (which, come to think of it, is more how things used to be when you and I were together nights), I figure I might as well instead relate the events of last evening to you as partContinue reading “Waiting for a Table”

The Return Trip

God, grant us strength todayAs we go our separate ways.Though we do not know quite when,Shield us ’til we meet again. me, this morning Dearest Rachel – And so it goes, as they say in Tralfamadore. It’s time (and past time, compared to almost everyone else) to return to life as usual… whatever that isContinue reading “The Return Trip”

Always One More Thing

Dearest Rachel – Now that you’ve been gone for all this time, I guess it falls to me to pull the “just one more thing” routine before heading out on a trip. Bear in mind, I was in no hurry to leave today – and I’m still not. Kris was coming over to clean, andContinue reading “Always One More Thing”

The Wide and Lonesome Road

Dearest Rachel – Look, this is not the proof-of-concept, can-I-travel-on-my-own venture that you might think it would be. After all, I’ve driven more or less nonstop to Tennessee earlier this year, and that was twice the distance and length as this trip. I’ve said it before, but it needs to be reiterated; it’s not thatContinue reading “The Wide and Lonesome Road”

Preparing to Leave the House

Dearest Rachel – I never really considered just how involved this process was of putting ourselves together for a convention weekend. All I ever did was to pack the computers and hard drives and my own set of clothes and toiletries, and call it good. There’s so much else that has to be taken careContinue reading “Preparing to Leave the House”

Dreams of a Fast Food Breakfast

Dearest Rachel – One of the many books that you left behind was a reissued copy of Windsor McCay’s “Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend,” wherein aficionados of the titular grilled cheese with mustard sandwich who’d eaten it too late at night would suffer from bizarre nighttime visions not unlike those of his later, more famousContinue reading “Dreams of a Fast Food Breakfast”

Never Mind The Professionals

Dear Rachel – So yesterday, Jeff and Julie invited the two of us over for a Fourth of July cookout (yes, I know it was on the third, but you know, Saturday versus Sunday). I warned Jeff that I would be late, because I was working in the booth this weekend, and as it soContinue reading “Never Mind The Professionals”

Early Morning in a Strange City

Let’s go up on the roof beneath the neonPretend we’re foreigners and drink the city inSomewhere between the stairwell and the starlightI find myself holding your hand Mark Heard, “Love is Not the Only Thing,” from Second Hand, 1992 Dearest Rachel – I’d kind of like to start this letter off like a conversation: youContinue reading “Early Morning in a Strange City”

ただいま! (I’m Home!)

Dearest Rachel – For all my talk about my being an anime otaku (although these days, Daniel and Logan have me well beat in terms of actually watching anime), you were the first of us to actually sample Japanese culture. Starting from the middle of your high school career you would make a habit ofContinue reading “ただいま! (I’m Home!)”

Things We’ve Seen Before – and Things You’ll Never See

Dearest Rachel – It’s Thursday morning. Our last full day here in Tennessee. And I must admit, I’ve been a little lax. Haven’t done any walking to speak of this whole week. I’d like to excuse myself, because of the lack of reason. No destination, and no companion – human or canine – leads toContinue reading “Things We’ve Seen Before – and Things You’ll Never See”

The Path to the Park

Dearest Rachel – So I must say, the wheelchair affords both Chompers and I a little extra freedom. He can wander about the front lawn as much as he wants for as long as he wants, while I sit here on the porch and take in the sights and sounds. And yes, even as emptyContinue reading “The Path to the Park”

The Middle of the Bed

Dearest Rachel – At home, there’s always something that prevents me from taking up the entirety of the bed. It’s partially a physical question of real estate, where some of your stuff has been lying there. Indeed, I’ve been keeping a couple of your Bible study books there as a reference to flip through andContinue reading “The Middle of the Bed”

Road Trip

Dearest Rachel – Well, it’s that time of year again. Memorial Day, and we would be heading down to Tennessee to visit Kevin, and just hang out at his place, watching television and YouTube, playing video games, and just enjoying each others’ company. And we’re still doing that this year. It’s just that there’s aContinue reading “Road Trip”

Stories I’ll Never Know / Ιστορίες Που Δεν Θα Μάθω Ποτέ

Dearest Rachel – Jan and I are continuing to make progress on cleaning the house, although the going is considerably slower than before. It’s one thing to bundle up your clothes for donation, knowing no one in this household will ever wear them again. It’s another to determine which of my clothes need to go,Continue reading “Stories I’ll Never Know / Ιστορίες Που Δεν Θα Μάθω Ποτέ”

Balancing Axioms

Dearest Rachel – For all of the places we’ve gone, and the things that we’ve done, we were always limited in what we could and could not do. Indeed, it’s considered axiomatic that we humans, as we go through life, always find ourselves limited against what we truly want to do: When we are children,Continue reading “Balancing Axioms”

Running Out of Footage

Dearest Rachel – Well, I knew it had to happen someday. After all, we only had the camcorder with us for a limited amount of time before it disappeared somewhere amongst the piles – to say nothing of the fact that digital mini-tapes turned out not to be the wave of the future as farContinue reading “Running Out of Footage”

The Return

Dearest Rachel – So, this morning, I’ll be heading up to Camp Awana to discuss the budget. Scott, Brian and I have been planning to do this for the last two weeks: each time, there’s been a health issue that’s gotten in the way. Given the tenor of the times, I probably don’t have toContinue reading “The Return”

The Golden Rule, Inverted

Dearest Rachel – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s one of the core tenets of most every major religion, at least in terms of dealing with other people (obviously, not necessarily a basis of salvation, since nobody reaches perfection in this life – and even if they were toContinue reading “The Golden Rule, Inverted”

Empathy… Suitcase?

Dearest Rachel – The “Empathy Doll Shot” is a trope whose name might be unfamiliar, but when you see it, you know what it’s all about. That item left behind that you, the viewer, would recognize as ‘that thing is supposed to have an owner,’ followed by the realization as to why there is noContinue reading “Empathy… Suitcase?”

The Temptations of Travel

Dearest Rachel – So at the risk of acknowledging the fourth wall a bit, I’ve been asked where and how I come up with topics to discuss with you every single day (and then some). And it’s a fair question, really. Much as I enjoy the little dopamine hit that tells me “Congratulations! You’re onContinue reading “The Temptations of Travel”

One Final Trip (part 1)

Dearest Rachel – I have yet to find a place that can open your phone up and download the data from it – the last place I went to only seemed to work on actual smart phones (which you forever resisted getting – guess that might have been a good plan at this point) –Continue reading “One Final Trip (part 1)”