30 June 2010

A Truly Helpful Hint

Do Not try this with Champagne

28 June 2010

Need To Be Ethnic

I must be a bit homesick as all day today I've been craving Tabouli and B'stilla, preferably from my favorite Los Angeles restaurant, Dar Maghreb.  The closest true Moroccan restaurant is in Seattle so I may just have to break down and cook it myself.  Both of the following recipes aren't really difficult, they just look that way.  If you have an invitation to a summer picnic may I suggest the Tabouli as a fantastic alternative to potato salad and it is much better for you.


2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)
2 cups very hot water
1 cucumber, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
2 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste


  1. Soak the cracked wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. When it's ready, drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.
  2. Meantime, prepare the vegetables for the salad and mix the dressing ingredients together. Set aside.
  3. Stir the prepared wheat, other salad ingredients, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
Serve chilled or at room temperature with slices of pita bread.. Makes about 8 cups, 12 to 16 servings.


B'Stilla can be served as either an apetizer or main dish. If you have never had one, hunt down a Morroccan restaurant or give it a try on your own. The combination of sweet and savory is unbelievable.


1/4 cup butter, plus
1/2 cup additional butter, melted, for brushing phyllo
2 (4 lb) chicken
2 bunches parsley, chopped
1 large onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron thread
1/2 lb blanched whole almond, toasted lightly, cooled and ground
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons cinnamon
10 sheets phyllo pastry, covered with damp towel


  1. In a large pot, melt ¼ cup of butter over moderate heat and add chickens, parsley, onion, saffron and 2 cups water.
  2. Bring mixture to boil and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
  3. Transfer chicken to cutting board, reserving liquid, and let cool.
  4. Shred chicken and return meat to liquid.
  5. Bring to boil and cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is evaporated.
  6. Let cool.
  7. In a bowl, combine almonds and 1 cup of sugar.
  8. Add ½ of almond mixture to chicken, stir in beaten eggs, pepper and 2 tsp cinnamon.
  9. Preheat oven to 330°F and place rack in middle of oven.
  10. Line a buttered 13 x 14 inch ovenproof dish with 1 sheet of phyllo.
  11. Brush generously with butter.
  12. Layer 5 more sheets of phyllo in the same way, brushing each one generously with butter.
  13. Sprinkle remaining almond mixture over phyllo and top with chicken.
  14. Cover with remaining 4 sheets of phyllo, buttered, folding in edges to enclosed filling and brushing more butter over top.
  15. Bake pastry for 25-30 minutes, or until crisp and golden.
  16. Sift remaining ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon over top.
If you have never worked with phyllo dough, you might want to watch the following video closely. The ingredients are a bit different. Use either one, just try not to drool until you get the B'Stilla to the table.

27 June 2010

Love Poem By Request

Many years ago I had a friend who was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and decent men I've ever known. Unfortunately, no one had ever truly loved him romantically as that heroic spirit that may have sat at a round table in a previous life was hidden in the soft body of the typical nerd wearing a short sleeved shirt complete with pocket protector. One day he made a wish that someday someone would write him a love poem. The next morning I gave him this.

Love Poem By Request

I wouldn't have been ready for you then
when the wounds were still fresh.
when tomorrow was the hope of fools like
Santa Claus
Sir Galahad
Fairy Tales, and
Happily ever after

I wouldn't have been ready for you then
when tears were for goodbye
when nice guys like the Pledge of Allegiance were
In school
In Church
In books
But never at home

I wouldn't have been ready for you then
when my faith had grown dim
When self evident truths weren't eternal like
Apple Pie
or most of all love

I wouldn't have been ready for you then
Before I found myself
Before I knew I could still believe in
Santa Claus
Sir Galahad
Fairy Tales
Happily Ever After
Apple Pie
and You

26 June 2010



There isn't anywhere I wouldn't go
with one suitcase and a smile
Everything can be left behind
If you don't mind those who can't
understand that where can be
more important than when.

Airports are fun enroute to new
Adventures where you are sure
something waits beyond passports
and exit gates, You can pursue
changes to rearrange your life
Into something different.

Two years in one place is too long
Let me be somewhere I've never seen
wage a war against boredom. 
Pack a case leave home, kiss old loves
Goodbye in order to claim
Houses never seen before

Outside the door.  Grab a cab
Off to somewhere never known
A where ... there over the rise
A place my eyes have never seen
The past gone and clean, wiped away
by where I've never been.

I'll be back.  I promise. 
When least expected I'll return. 
The earth is round you know
I'll come again , memories stowed away.
 But it may be when you no longer want me around
So I'll just leave town.

25 June 2010

5 On Friday - A Different Kind of Cowboy

Our buddy Travis of Trav's Thoughts has created a wonderful meme called "5 on Friday". The rules are simple:
1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to Playlist.com to make your play list of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.

3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.


Lyle Lovett has become one of my favorite performers. His unique voice, song writing ability, and sensitivity mixed with humor are almost irresistable.
Courtesy of Wikipedia: Lyle Pearce Lovett (born November 1, 1957)[1] is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the #10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man". Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album. It's Not Big It's Large was released in 2007, where it debuted and peaked at #2 on the Top Country Albums chart. A new studio album, Natural Forces, was released on October 20, 2009 by [Lost Highway Records].

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

23 June 2010


Ensenada has become
a stop on a weekend cruise
While Hussongs is a zoo for
Los Animales from the States
Expatriates are forced out of a harbor
that harbored some serious domino players
I was La Otre Esposa then
The one who came on Friday night
Not by ship but with a right
turn off the free road to a place
where la loca Americanos could chase
nude in alfalfa at 5:00 a.m.
and run off cows trespassing again
through barbed wire fence
or wear a formal gown that caught on cacti.
Eccentric became a way of life
But you worked harder when
there was another just next door
Excesses were simple then when
diving from yardarms and trading stories
with child stars from the thirties
Some of the stories were dirty before
dirty was painful to someone other than women
We managed to hold our own then against the macho types.
My portrait hangs in bars, which is fame of a kind
Not Hemingway but drawn by A good caricaturist.
If you're a purist don't go but
If you wish to invest send your money south
Where beaches extend into cement and spas
and millionaires spend their hours
It was more fun then with Tequila and fish tacos
before there was a really nasty worm in the bottle.

22 June 2010

Queen's Meme #42 - The Beach Meme

The Queen's Meme #42 ~ The Beach Meme

Sometimes silly.
Sometimes serious.
Always fun!
Step out of the box.
Be creative.
Use your imagination.
No one's answers are quite like yours

Right now....let's hit the beach.
#42 The Beach Meme


1. When is the last time you saw the ocean? - In Washington you get glimpses all the time or at least inlets. To actually FEEL like ocean, the last trip to Seattle.

2. Where is your favorite stretch of beach shoreline? - Asilomar, Pacific Grove, CA

3. Are you planning a beach vacation this year? - Big maybe.  If finances allow, may finally make it to that ocean on the East Coast.

4. Bikinis or one-piece? - Either nothing or one piece.

5. Do you sunbathe or sit under an umbrella? - Caution to the winds on tanning, but I wear sunglasses (see swimsuit question)

6. Have you ever been to a nude beach? - Favorite kind.  Too few of them in the States.

7. Favorite activity at the beach while on vacation? - Before or after dark?

8. Condo, hotel or cottage rental? - Cabin at Asilomar

9. What beach in the whole wide world would you like to visit for the first time? - Bondi Beach, New South Wales, Australia

10. Did you ever have a special romantic time at the beach? - Yes

11. Tell us about a favorite beach memory - No as it involves #10, a man in a tux and dancing in the sand until we fell down.  Use your imaginations.

21 June 2010

Split Personality

All of my life I have felt divided between the laid back, live for today element of the West Coast and a sort of East Coast or European idea of theater and history. When you add in a love of words, word play, and puns what you get is "Trees Ala West Coast" and the great Peter Allen Song, "Bi-Coastal" that deals with other forms of confusion.

Trees Ala West Coast

California where palm grows beside maple
and you don't have to name bride or maid
you just get laid under one or the other
before taking flight east to visit the
Big Apple and grapple with all those
personalites before returning to
redwood keeping orange company
and a beech beside fig that grows near beach.
Then you ask when you can go to
see another Broadway play then revert
to a pomegranate that must exert
its right to be here in unednding sun,
blending pine and oak amid folk who
are used to such things as rowan and aspen
and never ask when something will grow.
Of course it will as long as there is water
for pine near winesap, which is as close
as we get to a big apple. But there are
always grapefruit and dates of
one kind or another.

19 June 2010

In A Mood

Lately, I've been looking back on my chapbook of poetry and in a mood to write again.  Outside of the two memes I do each week, you will be getting some of the poetry of the past and new things as I move into them and because I believe that life really is a musical, the music that goes with each one.  Let me know what you think.

Woodland Hills

Woodland Hills 6 A.M. even birds sleep in
heads tucked under wings - city dwellers on the high wire
waiting for a wake up call once haze burns off.

Hills are too steep to walk; they wake to talk
among themselves before taking flight.  It has been
a long night in a quilted room where a man still dozes.

I go down the long slant to smog city where sharp
and witty are the order of the day.  Warmth and quiet
lay behind artificial darkness of drapes pulled against

light heading west.  Curls that imprisoned fingers are
at rest.  The rise and fall of chest back there now as
high heels click on cement that won't hear a trace of

sound again until another hour is spent.  A time for
monologues.  To turn back and climb between sheets
would be wrong, but that's where I long to be or so

as not to disturb unbroken sleep, by the pool coffee
steaming in the cool mist as paper pages slowly turn.
There are wages to be earned away from where I

want to be where slender fingers held my hand as if
it were a source of life - fragile yet strong.  It's a
long way into town.  I have to be there before

eight.  It's not too late to head back for soft
scrambled eggs.  Instead, I totter on unwilling legs
when I would rather hear a soft, "I love you."

Dogs are still sleeping in the halls.  The phone
won't start ringing for hours.  He doesn't rise before
noon except on Wednesday, but an office waits out there

And a boss who needs attending to.  It's not a total loss
I'll bring a paycheck home.  We live at different ends
of the clock and I'm a block away.  He will later say

"Theater next week?"  It's our birthday date.  I'll get
tickets for the show and he will cover dinner.
It's a tradition you know, one small piece of history.

18 June 2010

5 On Friday - We'll Meet Again

The space between Flag Day of June 14 and the big splash of Independence Day on July tends to be very patriotic in the U.S.  However, one of the greatest singers of World War II was very distinctly British: In 1940 Vera Lynn began her own radio programme, Sincerely Yours, sending messages to British troops serving abroad. Lynn also visited hospitals to interview new mothers and send personal messages to their husbands overseas. During the war years she would tour Egypt, India, Burma. Her most popular Song was We'll Meet Again.  Following WW II she continued a successful musical career and in later life has devoted herself to charities including breast cancer research and cerebral palsy.

The whole oil spew mess has me in a rather pessimistic mood when it comes to modern corporations and their destruction of the environment.  Which is probably why I started thinking of Dr. Strangelove.  Strangely enough at the end of Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove a cryptic rendition of "We'll Meet Again" is played as many nuclear explosions are set off, showing it is the end of the world. 

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

16 June 2010

How You Can Help


Help Audubon Make A Difference
The Gulf oil spill is an unprecedented catastrophe for people and nature of the region. Audubon mobilized quickly to help birds like this pelican and for the environment it shares with us as soon as the toxic slick began spreading toward vulnerable wildlife and habitats. Now, as the crisis continues to deepen, we need your help. Our Volunteer Response Center is already in touch with more than 20,000 people eager to help with efforts from Florida to Texas. Your support will help fund Audubon’s work to aid birds already suffering the oil’s deadly effects; to protect now-unharmed wildlife in the path of spill, and to meet the long-term challenge of restoring a devastated Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.
Donation Page - Gifts start at $5.00

15 June 2010

The Queen's Meme #41 ~ The Nosy News Meme

Welcome to The Queen's Meme #41

HRH Mimi Pencil Skirt, Queen of Bloggingham has decreed that her subjects once more submit answers to this latest quesionaire.  To join in on the fun, simply click on the link to join in.

Sometimes silly.  Sometimes serious.  Always fun!

Step out of the box.  Be creative.  Use your imagination.  No one's answers are quite like yours


So much crazy news out there lately -from sunbursts to outbursts to implants to supplements. Here are a few topics spinning off the newswire.. Sound off and tell us how you really feel about it. Your opinion counts.

1. What would you do about the BP oil spill? Give us your suggestions. 

Angry Answer:  Stuff the pipe full of BP executives
Silly Answer:  Add Vinegar
Real Answer:  Establish a fund to help ease the income loss.  Stop all deep water drilling.   Add a gasoline tax with money dedicated to development of renewable energies with concentration on wind, solar, wave, and geothermal

2. Tipper and Al Gore are calling it quits.

It is always sad when a long term marriage comes to an end, but they seem to be parting friends and both are still young enough to go on with their own interests and perhaps find love again.

3. It’s hot! The heat index topped 104 degrees today in some parts of the United States. How is the weather in your part of the world?

Washington has been cool with a week of rains.  Seems to be cleared now for a time with sun promised all this week.  We might get into the 70s.

4. Do you think smoking should be banned in public places?

Yes.  As an ex smoker, I really notice it now.  When I was a smoker and went out with non smoking friends, I didn't smoke in their presence.  It is a simple courtesy.  Keep your bad habits to yourself.

5. Unemployment from the top down: Do you think President Obama has a good chance or no chance of being re-elected in the next US election?

Excellent chance.  There is simply no credible national candidate on the Republican side of the equation.  One might develop and since House and Senate are more local, there is a chance one or both houses might be lost to the Republicans.

6. What??! Actor Gary Coleman’s wife reportedly sold private pictures of the deceased actor on his deathbed. - It's just sad, but in many ways Coleman had a very sad life and this involvement with this crude and manipulative woman was just one more example.

7. Texting while driving. Do you? Don't you? Will you? Won't you?

I don't even look at another person in the car when I'm talking to them while driving.  Just for the record:  50 years of driving, no accidents, no moving violations.  Of course, I do have a lead foot just haven't been caught, but I am a safe driver.

8. Lindsay Lohan. Has she been treated fairly or unfairly by the legal system?

The legal system hasn't done her any favors by caving in to celebrity.  This child is careening down a path of self destruction and the judges are letting it happen.  She will either dry out or we will be reading her obituary before she is 40.

9. The Sarah Palin rumor mill caught wind of her recent decision to have breast implants….so said the reporters-who-need-to-get-a-job-and-stop-making-up-news. She has denied the earthshaking allegations. Was this really news?

For some reason the press can't resist.  It wasn't news, but did you notice her jaw line?  She has either lost weight or had a thread lift to tighten that 46 year old jowl .... Pass it on.

10. An asteroid is supposed to hit earth this Friday. Are you prepared?

I really need to unpack the telescope.

And when it comes to gossip: Anything Goes

13 June 2010

Faces Of Eve

Being five people could cure my life,
or maybe more just to be sure of
doing what I enjoy (I gave up wife).

The lovers of theater and dance
Spend too much time on chance
streets from here to there

The one who earns a living
is feeling stressed, but
children are grown and blessed.

So Mom might make the meeting hall
If the grandchildren don't call
or the dishes don't need to be done.

We are busy people except for
the TV and paper addicts
but they don't like crowds or critics.

The gypsy is never at home, and
her driver's license is out of date.
Either age or address always runs late.

Unless we hold the meeting at
some uncommitted time, we might
Never get the connection tight.

Which is fine with the poet who prefers to be alone
even though the lover wants some nice man around.

11 June 2010

Take It Off Take It All Off

Our buddy Travis of Trav's Thoughts has created a wonderful meme called "5 on Friday". The rules are simple:
1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to Playlist.com to make your play list of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.

3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

Broadway has a long history of witty lyrics that aren't always suitable for younger ears or general media.  The popular version often had lyric changes or just never made it to the airways.  You needed to get the cast recording or attend a performance to hear the originals.  Here are five such songs.  Watch out for low flying double entendres


Just a Little Itty Bitty Country Place - Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

I Never Do Anything Twice - Seven Percent Solution

Mein Herr - Cabaret

The Tennis Song - City of Angels

08 June 2010


For those looking at the mess in the Gulf who would like to find EASY ways to conserve energy, get off the oil teat and generally live a cleaner and healther life, you might want to check out The Lazy Environmentalist on Sundance Channel or on his blog.  The tips range from the immediate easy steps to more long range projects.  The main message is that is we all do a little bit, it will reduce man's impact on the globe in a mjaor way.

06 June 2010

Necessary Reprint

From the Camp Fire:  What Price Pelican

Yes, some human greed and error within British Petroleum played a role in this disaster. But from the vantage point of why we are getting our fuel from 20,000 feet below the oceans surface in the first place, BP, Transocean, Cameron etc. play very small roles. Everyone in the developed world is partially responsible for whats happening in the Gulf because of our insatiable demand for more (energy, stuff, experiences, growth). It is the fault of a society so dependent on liquid yeyo that we now have to dig deeper, farther and in more environmentally sensitive areas with each passing year.
The oil industry, just like the computer industry or the food industry, has the best and the brightest turning natural resources into products that people buy and in doing so turn a profit. The fact that the product that BP (and others) procures is equivalent to societal pixie dust, with one barrel of oil having 5,700,000 BTU (the amount of energy/work it would take me several years to generate) is not their fault. They are providing a service that we want. The problem is that we have taken this service, all that in entails, and the power that it offers, for granted. The Beverly Hillbilly-just-under-the-surface yeyo is gone and it may require some ecological shock and awe to alert us to this fact.
If you are a vegetarian, off the gridder who walks everywhere and doesn’t buy anything via corporations, then YOU have the ability/right to complain about your share of the commons that is being impacted by this tragedy. Everyone else, and some more than others, bears responsiblity for this situation and as such shouldn't only be casting stones at BP. And the United States, who uses 1 of every 4 barrels of oil produced worldwide, is more responsible than anyone else. Yes BP screwed up. But I think our society should understand that as the fossil energy frontier continues to close, environmental complications are going to increase from the search for the lower quality fossil fuel crumbs. The most unacknowledged point in our debt-laden, over-consumptive culture of entitlement is that our consumption relative to what is sustainable is too high not by 10 or 15% but by a factor of 4 or 5.

05 June 2010

Happy Anniversary Trailmixers

When I'm not deeply immersed in history, genealogy, music or theater, I hang out at the best political site on the web: Craig Crawford's Trailmix.

The site celebrates it's 5th anniversary today and the video is just a few of the people who make it a wonderful place for issue discussion with few trolls and little fussing and fighting.

04 June 2010

Battle of the Sexes - Broadway Version

Our buddy Travis of Trav's Thoughts has created a wonderful meme called "5 on Friday". The rules are simple:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to Playlist.com to make your play list of five songs. You may choose a particular theme to share with us, or post random tunes if that's your vibe for the day. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

2a. Don't feel restricted by the tracks listed on Playlist.com. You're welcome to use any type of media to share your Sets.

3. Be sure to sign Mr Linky so everyone can visit your Set.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

The course of true love never did run smooth and here are five great examples from Broadway.

Sue Me - Guys and Dolls

Anything You Can Do - Annie Get Your Gun

Could I Leave You - Follies

I Hate Men - Kiss Me Kate

You Must Meet My Wife - A Little Night Music

03 June 2010

She Danced Among The Stars

This is a total crosspost.Jeanne Robinson  For several decades I have loved the science fiction of Spider Robinson and his collaboration with his wife.  In referring to them for another reason today, I came across the information that Jeanne Robinson was no longer among us.  That is such a shame.  Go read the books, and learn to love the woman.  She will be missed


Jeanne Robinson left this life at about 4:45 Sunday afternoon, 30 May, a gentle smile on her face. Her departure was quite peaceful and she was in no pain at all. She was 62 years and two months old, a victim of biliary cancer.

Because her brilliant Palliative Care doctor, Paul Sugar, was able to forecast her passing almost to the hour, her daughter Terri, son-in-law Heron and granddaughter Marisa flew back from NYC just in time, and were with me at her side when Jeanne died; her mother Dorothy Rubbicco and sister Laurie O’Neil arrived from Massachusetts only a couple of hours later, after Terri had had time to expertly make Jeanne look better than she had for days. Zen priests Michael Newton and Kate McCandless were also present per Jeanne’s wishes, as were our oldest friends in this part of the world, Greg McKinnon, Anya Coveney-Hughes and Stevie McDowell. Over the next few hours several more of her sangha buddies arrived, and chanting of the Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra was done. Her body was then bathed and dressed in her hand-sewn rakasu as per Zen tradition.

In accordance with her wishes she will be cremated. Half her ashes will be scattered off this coast, and half will be taken back to her childhood home, Cape Cod, so that her East Coast family will have a place to go and visit her.
Only moments after Jeanne had passed, Terri put little Marisa down on Jeanne’s breast and told her to give Nana a hug. Marisa did, one of the boneless-sprawl, cheek-burrowing, no-hurry hugs we’ve all come to know means she really loves and trusts whoever she’s hugging. And then she raised herself up on one arm, looked at Jeanne’s face....I swear this is true.....and waved bye-bye. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck.

If you’re in the Vancouver/North Vancouver area, you should find here, as soon as I know it, information on when her services will be held, at Cates Hill Chapel here on Bowen Island. At this point I don’t even know when or where she’ll be cremated: her social-worker sister Laurie is, with characteristic kindness, fielding such practical matters for me and Terri.

One thing I can report: Jeanne, a lay-ordained Soto Zen monk, always yearned to become a full Buddhist priest.....but the five-year-period of intensive practice and fulltime study in the monastery required was logistically difficult for us, among other things, and we kept putting it off. In a recent farewell phone conversation, she told her personal teacher Tenshin Reb Anderson Zenki that her biggest regret was that she had never been able to find a way to study to become a priest. Reb (who gave her both her Dharma name, Buchi Eihei—”dancing wisdom; eternal peace”—and her nickname in the Zen community, “Wired Buddha”) immediately told her he would come to her funeral, and ordain her a priest on the spot. That brought her deep joy—and will, I have no doubt, assist her greatly in her travels through the bardos.

The only dying wish she missed was to be driven down to Seattle a few weeks from now, to see/hear Crosby, Stills and Nash. I should probably go myself...but I doubt I’ll have the heart, that soon. And I have an overdue novel to get back to work on.

I cannot praise highly enough Dr. Paul Sugar and the entire staff of the Palliative Care Wing of North Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Hospital. All nurses and nursing aides are heros, but those who work exclusively with the dying are a breed apart. (as are those who work Burn Units.) These boddhisattvas—over a dozen of them in the course of a week—were without exception willing to accede to absolutely any reasonable request by a family member, and any unreasonable request by a heavily drugged patient—with infinite patience, competence and compassion. They ignored regulations that were unreasonable, and enforced the important ones with firm kindness. Visiting hours there are 24-7. They actively encourage the playing of instruments and singing, raucous laughter, and the sound of crying babies. They are not stingy with the dilaudid. They helped Jeanne create a Buddhist altar on her windowsill. When your loved one enters endgame, they offer you blankets, pillows and a special chair which can effortlessly become a startlingly comfortable bed, so you can stay at the bedside all night, for as many nights as necessary. If you’d rather get a nearby hotel or B&B, they’ll find one for you and get you a rate.

Maybe this will shorthand it. One of the nurses assigned to Jeanne got chatting with her as she worked, learned a bit of Jeanne’s story. Then, completely on her own initiative, she went to one of the computers in the nurse’s station, Googled up both our websites, found and printed out the best photos of Jeanne dancing, solo and with her company, and also driving across America in a red, white and blue VW microbus with her first husband Daniel Corrigan, and winning a Hugo Award in Phoenix with me—and then she taped them all those photos up to the closet door beside Jeanne’s bed. As James Taylor sang, “Whatcha gonna do with folks like that?

I have lost my best friend, teacher, partner, lover and co-grandparent—the most remarkable and forgiving person I have ever known—seemingly forever as I understand that word. But by chance, on this very same day, two different people emailed me links to a letter written by Robert A. Heinlein to Forrest J. Ackerman near the end of World War Two, consoling Forry on the loss of his brother in combat. In the middle of it, he suddenly wrote, “Forry, I have not a belief, not a conviction, but personal knowledge of survival after death. You will see your brother again.

If that’s true—and who am I to doubt Robert Heinlein on a matter so important?—then all I have to do is find her again. I’ll simply track her across the universes and through the dimensions like Kimball Kinnison and his Clarissa, or Alexander Hergensheimer chasing his Margrethe to Hell itself, if I have to. Shit, for a minute there, I thought I had a problem. Merely a tedious delay. Have a lot to tell her about when we finally do find each other. Try to spend the downtime becoming a better, kinder man.
The Tibetan Buddhist tradition says a dead person’s soul takes 49 days to get its act together and fully depart this plane of existence. So please keep an eye out for Jeanne, and continue to toss out an occasional prayer or good thought for her—at least until July 16 or so.

Thank you for being her friend and mine. Thanks especially to all those who’ve sent Jeanne and me support, from hugs to emails to gifts to cash. All of it worked, made her passing a calm and fearless one, helped her to die with her characteristic grace, dignity, courage and style intact. I know I owe all you loyal subscribers another podcast, and am way overdue. I’ll try and get something posted as soon as I become functional again. I appreciate your patience.

As we speak, David Gerrold and Jeanne’s partner and co-producer James Sposto are close to completing their screenplay for a film version of “Stardance.” Jeanne had time to read the latest draft before she had to leave, and pronounced herself deeply pleased with it.

In addition to the funeral service that will be held for Jeanne here on Bowen Island, BC, next week, whose venue and time are still being finalized, a second family-only service for her will be held on the East Coast at 1 PM on June 28 at the Provincetown Inn, in Provincetown MA.

01 June 2010

Queen's Meme #39 - The Last Time

The Queen of Memes seems to have forgotten that she isn't Face Book and really really needs some privacy settings. Hop on over to contribute to her inquisitiveness or face the Grand Inquisitor in the Bloggingham dungeon.

The Last Time Meme

This meme will make no sense. Do not expect it to. It has no rhyme or reason. There is no serious theme or deep thought required. Just answer with the first thought that pops into your brain and go with it. After all, that's how I made up the questions. Stop rolling your eyes.

When was the last time you……

rolled your eyes - Sunday Political Shows - Just how stupid are all politicians and corporate leaders?

Tied your shoe - Decades.  I hate shoes and I hate shoes with laces most of all.

Reorganized your bedroom - About a month ago so we could cut a door through to what will become the downstairs bathroom.

Took a walk in the park - This past weekend. 

Chewed gum - Again decades.  Can't chew gum without feeling guilty.  Could you if your mother said the following every time you chewed gum?
Gum chewing girls and cud chewing cows
So very alike yet different somehow
What is the difference, oh I see it now
It's the thoughtful expression on the face of the cow.

Drew a stick person - Don't draw stick people.  I doodle scrolls and write stuff in them.

Activated something - My IPod at Christmas

Took a photograph - The snow trip to Paradise

Drank a milkshake - Don't drink milkshakes

Ate orange jello - Some family reunion thing including the shredded carrots and mayonnaise topping - Gad the things you do for relatives.

Google mapped an address - Yesterday looking for locations in Greenwich Village.

Sang your favorite song - All day yesterday, but this is the perfect place to insert one of them as it matches the theme.

Made a peace globe. (Please show us!) - Last Peace Globe Day of course.

Threw a baseball - About 40 years ago playing catch with my son

Fumbled with a button - That bit about shoes above ... Don't much like buttons either

Answered the doorbell - Two weeks ago for a package.

Spilled your drink - It wasn't me. Cats and wine glasses don't mix well.

Administered CPR - Just in class about 15 years ago

Looked in the mirror - This morning. As close to a scary movie as I want to get.

Testified in court - 1981

Made a sarcastic remark - During Sunday political shows.

Offered someone advice - Is there a day that goes by?

Watched a sunrise or sunset - I'm in WA. I go down before the Sun does. Sun rises every morning since I get up between 4 and 5.

Were jealous - Honestly, never since childhood. It's an emotion that I don't allow in my life. All symptoms of same are harshly stepped upon.

Smiled when you didn’t feel like smiling - Can't remember. I smile all the time, sometimes full and sometimes bemused, and sometimes with a little effort. You couldn't depress me with a sledge hammer.

Loved when you didn't feel like loving - Don't do this one either.

Ironed an article of clothing - There must be an iron around here somewhere.

Noticed you didn't give a damn - Hah! Send me an email.

Had a mammogram - April

Read your horoscope - A couple of months ago because I found and interesting one: Combine your Chinese and Western horoscopes. Here's mine for the Piscean Monkey

Moped - Don't do moping. Take a walk instead.

Held someone’s hand - Yesterday, my grandson.

Crossed a bridge - The snow trip to Paradise.

Threw away a candy wrapper - April. The son brought home gourmet Hershey candies from his last business trip.

Sat on a bench - Can't remember

Turned a page - Last night

Tripped over your own 2 feet - Yesterday and what's your next move Grace?

Sat on a beach - Way too long ago. I need a beach.

Dialed the wrong number - Ages

Ignored a phone call - Regularly

Kissed a bride - Haven't been to a wedding since 1971

Tweeted - Yesterday

Rode a roller coaster - 2000 - Need another roller coaster

You were really you - Every day of my life. What you see is what you get.

Cried yourself to sleep - 1984

Were speechless - MOI?

Rode a bus - 1989

Went to a funeral - 1984 which is why I was crying myself to sleep.

Were right - Opinionated constantly. Right - 75% of the time?

Smoked - Five years ago

Were left - 1984 was not a good year.

Googled - This morning

Bent over - This morning - I've taken up Pilotes

Sent a text message - This morning

Lit a candle - Last Night

Lost your temper - Don't do this one either. I take a walk until I can decide what to do with the negativity.

Fell off a horse - I've never fallen off one. Isn't the idea to stay seated? :-)

Changed the oil in your car - Took it to Jiffy Lube last month

Added a new FACEBOOK friend - Yesterday. I'm slowing collecting all the people from my high school graduating class.

Went bowling - Six years ago.

Laughed uncontrollably - Got the giggles this weekend.

Felt guilty - Ages. Another useless emotion.

Looked up a word in the dictionary - There are words in there I don't know? Actually looked for a synonym this morning for "trivially dull" to get "Banal"

Returned from the point of no return - The last time I watched "The River of No Return".

Couldn't remember your name - There is no way I could forget my name. It's more a matter of which one to use for what purpose.

Surrendered to temptation - As often as humanly possible.

Felt genuinely happy - This morning

Saw a famous person - Not counting politicians that would probably be Jane Wyman about 20 years ago. Counting politicians - about six years ago.

Kissed in a car - 2005

Sent a greeting card - This weekend. Two birthdays coming up this week.

Used your passport - 2004 for trip to Scotland

Yelled at your television - Growled at it this weekend.  Oil spews make me very unhappy.

Confided a secret - Ages.  I try not to have them and I don't tell those belonging to others.

Changed your blog template - A couple of months ago.  I need a new one.

Danced like no one was watching - This morning

Wrote in cursive - yesterday

Took a driving test - 2005 after move to Washington

Backed up your computer files - Sunday, It's automatic.

When was the last time you said this was the last time? - Never say Never, but I might consider it now that I've gotten to the end of this thing.