The Little Book of Lost Words

Anyone who has ever listened to Shakespeare knows that our forebears had far more dexterous tongues than we now possess. They could take the hide off you with a fine blue acid and never use a word you could not say to Grandma. So when I heard an interview with the author, Joe Gillard, I was totally taken with the ideas behind his website, History Hustle. The book project grew out of his efforts to create “a history site for the digital and mobile age.” I have only sampled its delights, but so far my favorite is Blatteroon: “A person who talks or boasts incessantly and constantly.” You never know when you’re going to encounter one, but it’s nice to know the technical term

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Raven and the Box of Daylight

Preston Singletary’s show at the Tacoma Museum of Glass ends Sept 2, which is too damned soon. If you can see it before it leaves (for Wichita and then The Smithsonian) do yourself a favor. Raven and the Box of Daylight is an exploration in glass of the Tlingit story of Raven releasing the light for human beings. Singletary calls his work modern traditionalist.

First of all, the art is brilliant: blown, sculpted and sand-carved glass of Raven, of a canoe and paddles, of the boxes containing starlight, moon and sun. These are big, bold pieces, carrying their parts of the story. The ravens, white before the theft is punished, are strong representations of the archetype, with sand-carved detailing white on white creating clan details and animals,  or revealing further layers and complexities in the body of the glass.


photography © Russell Johnson , ©Museum of Glass, Tacoma WA


Secondly, the exhibit is mounted to show it to superb advantage. Kudos to Miranda Belarde-Lewis. The lighting shows each piece to best advantage, using dim light and spots to energize the glass. Shadows and projected images add extra life. Audio contains Tlingit oral histories, music and northwest beach sounds.

We were blown away.

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Nurses Recognition Awards: The Daisy Foundation

Went to a memorial for an old friend, Marilyn Lauer. She had a dry wit, liked a dry martini. Heart goes out to her husband Dave.

Her obit had mentioned donations to the Daisy Foundation. Looked it over online, it’s a family foundation for Patrick Barnes, who died of an autoimmune disease. The family was impressed by the skill of the nurses, but that they’d sort of expected. What moved them was the kindness, the respect and compassion the nurses showed the patient and his family. They wanted to recognize that. So they built a foundation and they provide a set of standards/awards for hospitals and health care sites. It’s mostly all paper, but it is recognition. Recognition helps nurses fight off burn-out. That’s a good thing.

I might be a trifle sensitive on the subject having recently been to the emergency room with my 100-year-old-mother and seen that care+kindness in operation, hour after hour.

So then I went to the memorial for Marilyn, where I met Mark Barnes, Patrick’s father, and Marilyn’s one-time brother-in-law. He is based in  Glen Ellen, Ca., site of of much of my book, Passage of the Kissing People.  Mark is very persuasive. We will be making a donation.
For more information :


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Biscuit Cough

Planning an outing to get Mom for a roll through Swanson’s Nursery. She was a big time gardener, so the smells and colors and all the shades of green are music..

These things require a bit more planning than in more carefree days, so I stopped by to iron out a detail or two. The restaurant had changed its menu. Did we need to reconsider? It’s turning into an Expotition, she said. To discover the North Pole, I continued.

Later as I was leaving she coughed heavily. I stopped short. “It’s a biscuit cough,” she said. “Not the kind you tell about.”

Family language gets to the heart.

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Writing Retreat Was Even More Remarkable Than The View

The 4th Annual Full Bodied Writing Retreat is in the books. It ought to keep everybody who was there, staff and writers alike wound up and spinning for at least a year. From the portal ceremony to the musical farewell, this event had it all. Gourmet organic food, massages, health care consultations, ms consultations, career sessions and spectacular presentations — if I do say so myself, since mine was one of them–I have been involved in some premier organizations, such as PNWA, but this was something beyond.

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