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We salute the Grammy nomination of the late great Dave Van Ronk's final concert album:
". . . and the tin pan bended and the story ended . . ."
DVR Grammy CD
Watch the 47th Grammy's and look for DVR's Wife and Producer, Andrea Vuocolo Vanronk, and our beloved Christine Lavin [who helped edit it]
February 13, 2005 8PM on CBS.

click here

William Valdez is our Son-in-Law Extrodinaire.
You can support our troops via this site, and support William, personally, if you wish. His TFT ID is 1862195
Thank you!

don't recycle bush


Listen to Hober

US Faces of the Fallen:
•US Fatalities in Iraq

•US Fatalities; "Operation Enduring Freedom"

Civilian casualties update
  Saturday   September 25   2004

Happy New Year! May this year be sweet.

Time to reflect, especially with some good ol' tunes on KCTS (the local PBS station here in Western WA) during pledge night, the show being "The Great American Songbook".

As I hear Kate Smith sing, my mind goes to my Grandmother, Lillian Herman Cohen, who was known as the "Second Kate Smith", her stage name being Billie Herman, who did radio shows and sang contralto. The rest of her family was not shabby either. Both her brothers, Al and Jay, had big bands, and her brother William, was an inventor of some amazing things like "that rubber thang on the end of a plug" so you don't get a shock, windshield wipers for the car, and around his death, some coil or radiant heat emanating from the floor (or was it the ceiling), utilizing atomic power or some other scary thing (personally, I always thought he looked very much like Keenen Wynn! --> a very absent minded professor image)

Maybe some of this is family legend, but I do remember that when Uncle Bill died, my Aunt Anna (they lived in Providence, Rhode Island) had to contact the government first before letting her family know about his passing, because they had to come to the house and grab all his documents lest these secrets fall into "enemy" hands.

AND, I do have a tattered scrapbook from when my Grandma died (lovingly known as Grangraw in our earlier years ) and there are some items from Uncle Al Herman's band's radio shows and his gigs.

Lillian married Martin Harris Cohen, who was pretty amazing himself! Among his skillset, is his being a "shill" in the audience during an act, who would have a sneezing attack. He could amazingly do this sneeze in different dialects -- go figure LOL! Of course, the act would play off of his distraction. Were that I ever could have seen him and Grandma perform in their earlier years.

They got married young. I think in MA, he maybe 18, she 17 I think. I remember her b'day is July 11th, (no year) and his is June 20th or 21st, just after my Mom's, Geraldine Elinor, on the 19th.

Mom went to RISD and she is an amazing artist -- creative, diverse, and very much ahead of her time. She did Graphic Arts, Designed Coats.

During her married life, while working part time at Gillman's W.H. Inc in CT with 2 kids (me and James Andrew) she painted in Oils (mostly -- some acrylics), did sculpture in soapstone, and busts, full figures, even wax figures. She threw very creative parties, and also was found designing costumes for local theater groups.

In her youth, she also "knew" the stage in her early life despite her protestations, methinks it was doing radio shows with her father (Granky I know I know -- Grangraw and Granky?!?) and just to round things out, she had a younger brother, Jay Eliot, who married Joan Grace Rosenberg [thank god /dess she doesn't deal with computers and /or the net -- Grace is her dirty little secret ], and they had 2 kids, Terri Lynn and dear Michael who also died way to young in his twenties ... .

I don't think I mentioned that my effervescent, funny, wry, very own Uncle Jay, also died way too young at 40. If there be any justice in the world, he and my Dad are up "there" swaping quips, and riding their bikes (as in Motorcycles), paving paths that have yet seen angel, man, woman, machine, critter or spirit -- yes! I like that image in my mind.

But I digress. I don't know the Herman /Cohen side of my family much at all.

On my father's side, I remember a lot more at least of his 13 siblings -- Dad being the youngest of 13! Raymond Leon Gillman, March 20th (spring day, not his b'day he always insisted).

But my cousins, there must be scads of them, are pretty much gone their own way and out of touch...come to think of it, I am not sure of his Mother's maiden name, Rebecca Catherine [Goldberg maybe?].

So...tonight, I've been searching the net looking for possible recordings of my Grandmother (Billie Herman) or her brother's Jay or Al Herman's big bands. Soon it became a frenetic frustrating futile romp around the net for just someone else's family tree criss /crossing mine. Sigh, no such luck for now.

So folks, if any of this tickles your family tree, please get in touch (I had to turn off the comments yet again, because more spammers ;p~~~~~~) xoe@army.com

Peace, Vote!

BTW just to round it out:
Terri married Donald Mattran, Jr.
They have a daughter, Jenna who has a daughter, Hailey
Their 2nd child is a boy, Donald (again )

My brother, Jim married Mary Elizabeth Martin
who have two boys
Gregory Martin Gillman who married Kate
Andrew Jay Gillman is still unhitched to the best of my knowledge

 10:27 PM - link -    

The Old Crow Medicine Show is one of the reasons that TestingTesting lives /(d and soon to be ressurected it all goes well).

Gordy will tell you the big story of the magic and how they happened to be on TestingTesting lo those many years past...but, besides checking out the archived show(s) on TT, news is that they will be on this weekend's PHC (Prairie Home Companion) and if you miss the shows, they do archive them.

Enjoy! I plan to!

 01:36 AM - link -    

  Wednesday   September 15   2004

I have an amazing sister /friend /kindred spirit who lives in Brisbane Australia.
I met Crissi when I attended 2 Dan Millman courses /seminars held at Westebeke in '93 (or was it '94 -- memory fails me). I drove, alone, from my place in Redmond, to there -- and this was during my "agorophobic" phase after John and I got married (heading soon for divorce -- WWIT?).

This is where I learned about, and how to do "Life Purpose Readings".

But the real bonus, was on the last day, of the 2 weeks I spent there, Crissi and I connected in a special way. Call it synchronicity, call it fate, call it destiny, heck -- call it spirit, or even chaos, but for some reason, the offer was extended to Crissi for me to take a long way home back to Seattle with her as company.

It was one of the most amazing times of my life.

We managed to find nature and tree-hugging in the Muir Forest -- amazing Redwoods, and the "amazing! bizarre! A sucker is born every minute!" place on the side of the road, where gravity actually fell apart (we took snaps to prove it), and to Truckee, CA -- a lovely town and a real hoot to lunch and shop, and a meander over to Tahoe (we both took a nap on the beach) and over to Reno, for gambling and gamboling.

We got lost quasi-intentionally along the way, choosing roads that looked interesting, and I managed to christen my Jeep in sand dunes (while the orange low-gas warning light was on -- nail biting time) and listening to Christine Lavin the majority of the time on the CD, little did I ever imagine that I'd meet her and be her webiste manager in the future), and all the while, talking, swaping life stories, and war stories (they are the same thing, aren't they?) while driving northward.

Finding a room on Cannon Beach in Oregon was our last overnighter and it was lovely, and reminiscent of back east beaches, and we shared even more experiences and found we were definitely kindred souls and sisters!

It was a very special connection, and enjoyable reminder of what life can be if health allows, and one takes a step out of their comfort zone and is open to the universe. A pretty fine life re-affirming message...!

But, I digress.

Crissi phoned tonight.

Her mother died.

I am so sorry for her, and so helpless to help her, especially 1/2 a world away. I wish I was able to travel to be with her. She lost her father just about when I lost mine. Of course my mind wanders to fear that history will repeat itself yet again. My Mom said that she's definitely be a Mom to Crissi (she made me request it of my Mom) but she assured me her "feet are firmly on the ground" and she's "not going anywhere". That's a good thing.

I'm sending loving thoughts Crissi's way. If any of you are prone to prayer, I'm sure any positive energy sent to Brisbane Australia will be much appreciated.

Thank you.


 12:32 AM - link -    

  Tuesday   September 14   2004

I'm discouraged about the failure to renew the ban on Assault Weapons, especially since this was publicized on the net, and in papers and even on TV, yet it was allowed to expire.

There is not necessarily a direct connect, but I think that it may be a portent of the future that Kerry may also expire and the unthinkable be elected yet again.

I hope I'm pleasantly proven wrong.
Peace, Vote!


 11:46 PM - link -    

I'm ill! I just heard on the Daily Show about the freedom tower coins that use silver from ground zero...i thought it was a joke, irony, et al re: Patriot Day, but NFW...

Freedom Tower Silver Dollar

CNMI, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, announces a limited release with SILVER RECOVERED FROM GROUND ZERO used to create the 100 Mil .999 Pure Silver "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Corp. ID Center, Thursday, 8:55 AM — Today history is being made! For the first time ever, a legally authorized government issue silver dollar has been struck to commemorate the World Trade Center and the new Freedom Tower being erected in its place. It's the U.S. territorial minting of the 2004 "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar from CNMI. Most importantly, each coin has been created using .999 Pure Silver recovered from Ground Zero!

No, this is not a misprint. The silver used in each gleaming dollar coin is from Ground Zero! You see, when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, a bank vault full of .999 Pure Silver bars was buried under hundreds of tons of debris. After months of salvage work, many of the bars were found. Now, the same silver that was reclaimed from the destruction has been used to create the magnificent 2004 “Freedom Tower” Silver Dollar.

The stunning design of the 2004 “Freedom Tower” Silver Dollar is the work of renowned State Quarter artist and NCM Chief Engraver Daniel Carr. The obverse celebrates our recovery and renewal with a glistening vision of the new "Freedom Tower," dedicated on July 4, 2004, rising from the ashes of Ground Zero. On the reverse, the frosted New York skyline featuring the magnificent Twin Towers gleam against a mirror-like background.
Beneath them is our promise: "We Will Never Forget," These silver dollars may well be among the most historically meaningful coins you will ever own. Issue price has been set at $39 per coin. However, during this limited special release, the "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar can be yours for only $19.95, You save $20 by acting now!

Includes: Each "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and is individually numbered.

In a small protest, I will not link to the site that I found that is selling it.

I'm ashamed for our country.


October 2004
I'm thrilled to have heard that this has been pulled! There are some people paying attention -- that's encouraging.

 11:33 PM - link -    

  Sunday   September 12   2004

An interesting day as in a lot of "may you live an interesting life" that is the chinese curse...!

But, despite that, we have managed a bit o' fun doing com CTscans -- one of Olivia (and a pepper with some real live catnip on it -- hence her squirrely-looking face 'cuz she was rubbing and moving while tha scan was on) and Zach, with his shaved belly hair growing in, and then the only photo I could get of Mom, was to convince her to do a handshot with me -- I love how it came out!

Here they are:

HRH Miz Olivia's CTscan

our hands
Mom & Me & Gordy's "onering" and Dad's "onering" x2

Sir Zachary the Bear's CTscan

Pax, Vote!

 10:26 PM - link -    

  Wednesday   September 8   2004

Yesterday at Swedish Pain Center I met with Suzanne LaCross per referral from Dr Wen. She is a cognitive therapist, and after reading up on cognitive therapy, found that her work would have a lot of things related to, but not the same as, behaviour therapy.

I really really liked and was impressed by her presence and intelligence. We clicked. Unfortunately, because I already see a therapist, she felt that our work would be overlapping with Marilyn's. There is no way I'd leave Marilyn, she's been amazing for me, and brought me to a place of such good mental health, which my pain problems have pretty much trampled into the mud for now, so I am not going to even consider changing therapists.

It was sort of like finding and breaking up with a kindred or supportative soul in an emotionally packed hour. I told her that Marilyn encouraged me to persue meeting her since her scope has reached it's limit regarding pain support, but Suzanne Lacrosse stood firm.

What she did come up with was an alternate plan. She suggested I meet with Carolyn McManus at Swedish for Physical Therapy. She raved about her wonderful work, and her de-stressing related abilities. Dr Lacrosse said just being in her presense is calming. Sounds like a plan to me. I related that even when I was healthy, and interested big time in new-agey stuff like bio-feedback (Alan had purchased one way back in the early 70's ) and meditation, I was unable to "get there" that zen, meditative state. But she assured me that this woman is the one to break that cycle and get me there.

I won't go into the mess that ensued at the front desk, but suffice to say that Swedish is not unlike the catch-22's and frustration level one finds at the MVD! ;p~~~~~~~~

So, I have an appointment with Carolyn McManus.

I went to Amazon and looked up her book,"Group Wellness Programs for Chronic Pain and Disease Management" (too pricey and probably not an easy read for me) and she also has 3 CDs that looked interesting, but most of all, this woman is very well thought of!!! So, I lucked out this time in this path at Swedish to have been set on a path to meet with Carolyn. I'm actually hopeful!

One more negative thing, she's into "group therapy" and I am so NOT! Also, the trip to and from Seattle may just stress me and undo any good time with Carolyn may offer...but my toes and fingers are crossed!

Send positive healing vibes my way if you're so inspired.

Pax, Vote!

 11:32 AM - link -    

Don't let the Assault Weapons Ban expire Monday without voicing your opinion.

"The fate of the national assault weapons ban will be decided in the next few days. Please demand that President Bush and Congress not let it expire -- and then ask your friends and colleagues to sign. We'll immediately forward your comments to President Bush and your Senators and Representative.

President Bush campaigned on a promise to renew the ban on deadly assault weapons. But now he's letting the ban expire in Congress, blocking the renewal to gain the endorsement of the extremist gun lobby. It's wrong to put weapons of mass murder back on our streets. We believe:

We've got to keep deadly assault weapons off our streets. The national assault weapons ban must not expire -- it must be renewed immediately."

This link will direct you to the petition to sign.

 11:09 AM - link -    

  Thursday   September 2   2004

I found this site, Treats for Troops looking for ideas for a care package to gather for our dearling William Valdez, son-in-law extrodinaire, who is now in Iraq. If you are inspired, please send goodies to William, who's TFT number is:

And if you know of anyone overseas, who you think would benefit, make sure you sign them up too!
Peace, Vote!

 09:38 PM - link -    

"walk this way..." Igor [prnounced Eye-gore] from "Young Frankenstien" [pronounced Steen] -- there's more!