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Entry date: 6-26-2022 - First Randomness in a bit - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Happy Sunday everyone. It’s a random thoughts kind of day. Been a while, but I feel like it is time to get caught up on life on the Appalachian trail.

First off, it has been a little bit rainy since we got here last week on the 16th. It feels like much of the last ten days has been a blur. Some of that has been because the beer just seems to taste really, really good here, and some of that has been just resting and relaxing and enjoying a bit of vacation.

We had a fun trip down to Farmington last weekend that saw Liam fully embrace the art of thrifting. He was already a fan, but for several days we got to hear about how much he loved it and wants more opportunities to find clothes. He did get a pretty swanky outfit for the stage, so I look forward to his next time playing music for people. It is a cross between Inspector Gadget and Ferris Bueller when he picked up Sloan from school.

Rhondi has been making some delicious food, so we are eating well, and we had a few decent meals out, too. As you might imagine, Rangeley is not the cheapest place to eat being a summer/winter vacation town, but it does have some good spots. We had some tasty pizza down in Oquossoc, which is right next door, and I enjoyed a killer blackened halibut sandwich, too, at Parkside and Main. Our cousin, Will, works there and we like to visit when we can. Their view of Rangeley Lake is spectacular.

We’ve taken a bunch of walks, which has been nice, although the bugs are vicious. I have bug bites on top of bug bites. I’m starting to get very bitter, too, because I will see people in town wearing summer attire (shorts, short sleeve shirts, etc.) who don’t have a fucking bite on them. I want to ask them what their secret is, but I’m not sure how to start that conversation.

“So, hey…perfect stranger with flawless skin. How do you do it? I mean, I’m not checking you out, but you don’t have any bug bites. I have over 30. What am I doing wrong?”

This is not something that I have ever said out loud and I’m not sure I could.

I am bitter, though, but apparently taste good to these damn bugs. I’m learning to live with a constant itch. I know some people who have terrible skin irritations experience this every day of their lives, so I am constantly reminding myself that at least it will pass, but still. I’ve read at least three articles in the past two weeks about how to avoid bug bites or get rid of the itch and nothing I’ve tried works.

Oh well. I’m done bitching.


Early last week, I got to speak with an author, Paula Pedene, who wrote a book about her experience as a Veterans Affairs whistleblower. It was fun to speak with her and inspiring. Not only was her book a good read and well put together, but it was also cool to see how one person can truly make a difference.

Pedene was terribly bullied at her job for the better part of two full years and she stuck it out by being strong and having faith that right would win out in the end. I was thinking about how brave this is, yes, but also how necessary it is for people to hear stories like this right now. The book is called A Sacred Duty and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Phoenix VA hospital or just how to survive a nightmarish ordeal of workplace bullying.


One thing I rarely think about when I’m in Phoenix taking a walk is bears. Here, I think about bears every time I take a walk.


Another cool thing is what Maine does to my wife. It brings out something in her that I just love. She’s happy and content here. Even though she loves Phoenix and it’s nothing against anyone there, she’s at home here, so it feels like home to me, too. How fortunate, really, to have two homes in a world where so many don’t have one or maybe don’t feel at home anywhere.

There are a few other places that have felt like home to me. I used to feel that way about San Francisco, but that feeling changed as I got older. I’m curious if I would feel that way now about it or even the east bay where I lived for a while. I had a similar feeling about New York City, too, when I visited about 17 years ago, but I don’t know if I would feel that way again. I have embraced a slower pace, for sure, and I don’t think I could do a big city for very long anymore, although a couple of months to explore New York City would be great, I think, still.

It was cool to have that feeling again for the Cleveland area. I think having a lot of family there is the main reason, but it felt very cozy to me during the couple of days we got to hang out there. I know I mentioned this the other day, but while on a subject…you know what I mean.

Rangeley, though, is definitely home. I’m excited to have five more Sundays here before we have to part again for a while.


This week I am going to pour a lot of time into reading and writing. I am excited and daunted by it. I have two more weeks of vacation and I need to make some serious headway into at least one of the stories I am working on in my brain. I’m not sure how much of it will make the blog, because I can get back on a steadier writing schedule, but it will all be here eventually.

See you tomorrow.

This is a picture of some beer I tried on Father's Day last week. We went to see the new Top Gun movie (pretty darn entertaining....I should review it). I could not read the label when I said, "Let me try the IPA," so it was fitting. It's a good one, for sure. Probably hard to find in AZ.

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