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Entry date: 7-24-2023 – First, Last, Middle – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person who loves to label each day. During the school year, I start the countdown, so each day is getting both closer and farther from the start and finish. Today is the last full day I will be in Maine for a little over two months. I dreaded this day when I got here four weeks ago and I will stew on it for much of my time being awake.

It’s a waste of time, I know. Several people I have talked to in the last month, both people I know well and people I’ve just met, have talked about how certain types of thoughts are just a waste of time. Will I lay on my deathbed some day and rue all the time I spent worrying about numbers and counting time and days and money and friends?

When I was a child, I used to count friends. I guess maybe I didn’t feel like I had enough. I didn’t connect well with most people, and I could never understand why. Now I connect fairly easily and I don’t understand why, so it’s really not worth spending a lot of time trying to figure it out.

As an adult, I count days and time and money. I count the last one because, as an adult, you have to unless you have so much or so little of it that there is no bother counting. Days and time, though. What an odd thing to count or so it seems today.

I was going to play golf, but I’ve decided I’d rather go for a hike. I can golf in Phoenix and I’m a bit sore from our swimming extravaganza yesterday at Worthley Pond. Liam, Q, and I were throwing the football around in the pond and my shoulder is shredded from throwing with only my arm and shoulder strength. I’m not as young as I used to be, I guess, and should have counted on being sore today.

What I can’t do in Phoenix is hike Bald Mountain, so I am going up there today before we hang out with family for dinner later this afternoon. It will be a good, sweaty effort and I typically enjoy going up there very much. The view of the area is pretty spectacular, and I get to wrestle with the demon that lives on the top.

This demon is a metal tower that takes you up another three stories above the mountain. I hate it. I’ve been up there a couple of times, but it makes me weak in the knees and brings out a lot of very uncomfortable feelings for some reason.

I have to believe it is associated deep in my psyche, probably related to some childhood bad feeling that is represented by the old GI JOE tower I had that kind of looked like the tower on top of Bald Mountain. This is a very specific psychiatric hypothesis, yes, and I really don’t know why it might be that, but something about that tower spooks the shit out of me.

I like going on big, fast rollercoasters with loops and such, but this tower scares me. It even makes me nervous when the people I’m hiking with go up there. Rhondi took Bailey up there last year and I was sure there was going to be blood. The dog did not look happy but also did not want to stay on the nice, safe ground with me.

Today, I don’t know if I will say “Fuck you, fear” and go up or say, “I don’t have anything to prove and I’m glad to be on top of Bald Mountain.” Maybe I’ll be somewhere in the middle and just enjoy the day and not worry about what I do or do not do. I don’t know yet.

I’m counting on it being a good day, though.


Marcy had been working in the oncology department for the last seven years. It had taken her a while to settle on where she wanted to be in the hospital. She was interested in so many things, but working with cancer patients was what she found the most rewarding.

She empathized with patients, but was able to avoid taking her work home, most of the time. With oncology, there were a lot of high and low moments and often a lot of waiting in between them, so learning to keep the lows at work and transfer the highs into energy was something she always pursued. Luckily, she was part of a great team, and they had each other’s backs when they needed it.

Monday nights were often kind of quiet on her floor for some reason. If there were surgeries, they were usually in the mornings on Mondays and by the time Marcy took over, usually for Randy, the patients were either feeling a lot better or still pretty zonked out. Marcy could monitor things pretty easily overnight and keep up with her paperwork.

After getting the lowdown from Randy and finishing up the last of the dinnertime check ins, Marcy took a look at a couple of the newcomers to the floor since she had last worked. There were a 58-year-old woman named Betsy who had was one of the Monday morning surgery patients. Marcy noted that Betsy had an omentectomy, in addition to a hysterectomy, which removes a layer of fatty tissue that serves as a protector in the abdomen. Ovarian cancer often spreads to these tissues, and it is very painful. According to the charts, the surgeon was successful in “debulking” the area, which meant that they were confident they had gotten the cancer, but still…Betsy was in for a rough night.

It occurred to Marcy that Betsy might need a ‘bet.’ If it worked for Winny, it might work for a woman who was going to need a good night’s sleep. She was still worried that there might be some sort of karmic reaction to her ‘bets’ but if it could save this woman a lot of suffering, she would have three days to see if there was an opposite reaction to her bet.

She decided to check on Betsy and see how she was doing. If the vibe was right, then maybe a small ‘bet’ would have to take place.


See you tomorrow.

Years ago. TQ and I watching a duck family at Haley Pond. She used to like to hold my hand. I still like to hold hers.

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