Saturday, January 26, 2008

10 years, 5 months, and 16 days

On Wednesday, July 16, 1997, I thought I was having a very platonic lunch at Hobee’s on Rengstorff Avenue in Mountain View, with my friend Paul Decker. All of a sudden, he leaned across the table. He seized my hand in both of his, kissed it passionately, and gazed deeply into my eyes. At that moment everything in my life changed.

That day, which we marked ten times as our anniversary, began a long and wonderful partnership. We soon discovered how perfect we were for each other: we shared a common spirituality, similar political beliefs, and a thirst for learning and discovery. We agreed on pretty much everything – from the most sweeping high concepts to the smallest details. We had so much in common we nicknamed ourselves “The Twins”. We never took each other for granted, our passion never waned, and although we endured a lot of adversity, our love for each other and our commitment to each other never wavered.

Paul quickly became entwined in every part of my life. Soon after we began our relationship, he took on the role of sound engineer and road manager at my live performances. As my self-appointed number one fan, he enjoyed watching my creative process as it unfolded. He knew I loved to write about the intersection of science and mysticism, and he would often send me articles about new scientific discoveries, NASA missions, and deep space survey results, knowing that I’d turn them into poems and pieces of music somewhere down the line. He was there to witness every stage of my four studio albums, and provided cover photography for my second and third CDs, Summerland and Diogenes.

His presence at my concerts was such a blessing. With him there, I could always count on at least one person being there who was really going to listen. I enjoyed sneaking a look at him from my place onstage, to see him leaning over the mixer, intent on his work, but also smiling and mouthing the words along with me, sometimes with his eyes blissfully shut.

I was privileged to be a part of his life, and to experience countless loving gestures, large and small…all the special meals he cooked for us, all the photographs he took of me, all the gifts he gave me, on special occasions or for no reason, chosen with care and circumspection; the bike he refurbished for me to ride, the awe-inspiring sandwiches he made for our hikes, the computer table and printer hutch he designed and built for me, the Christmas computer he built for my mother out of parts, all the times he cleaned up my kitchen just because he felt like it, the bottles of water he always seemed to have, knowing I was always thirsty…and all his anniversary, birthday, and Valentine’s Day cards, with their poetic and passionate hand-written messages.

Time and again over the years I marveled at how lucky I was to have found a man who was a feminist, an intellectual, a visionary, an artist in the kitchen and behind the camera, a mystic, a writer, and a passionate and devoted lover. Paul showed me what true love and respect were all about. He didn’t care what shape my body was, or how I wore my hair, or what clothes I wore. His support of me in everything I chose to do was unconditional and relentless. He understood me completely, and accepted me for who I was. He established himself in my heart and mind as the gold standard of men. I resolved to be the best girlfriend I could possibly be, since he deserved nothing less. As I told him on many occasions, “The more guys I meet, the more I appreciate YOU.”

On my journey with Paul, I had countless new experiences, and learned so much from him about love, respect, commitment, generosity, thoughtfulness, courage, and patience. He was my best friend, to whom I could tell any secret without fear of judgment. He helped me to heal from the wounds of the past and move forward with strength and confidence. With him cheering me on, I accomplished amazing things in my personal and professional life. Because of him, I know what it means to be an equal partner, to be truly accepted, and to be truly loved.

My love for him knows no bounds, and my grief at losing him knows no bounds. I don’t know, yet, how I am going to endure being separated from him. I pray to all the gods that we will be reunited in the Summerland, and in all our lives to come.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Performances in February

February 2, 2008
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Polly Moller & Co.
Live on KFJC 89.7
with Nozmo King

February 5, 2008
8:00 p.m. - Matt Davignon & Les Hutchins duo
9:00 p.m. - Polly Moller & Co.
1510 Performance Space
1510 8th Street
Oakland, CA

February 7, 2008
8:00 p.m. - Karl Evangelista, solo guitar
9:00 p.m. - Polly Moller & Co.
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market Street @ 6th
San Francisco, CA
$6.00 - $10.00

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Paul's potatoes au gratin au vin

Paul brought these potatoes to a gathering at my mom's house. Here's the recipe exactly as he gave it to my mom. If this dish suits your dietary restrictions, by all means please make it in his memory.

Today is Day 20 of this nightmarish new reality.

Potatoes au gratin au vin a la Justin

  • 6-8 large potatoes cut into thin slices
  • olive oil
  • 6-8 large onions cut into thin slices
  • 1 cup white wine (sauterne if possible)
  • ground cayenne pepper to taste (substitute chili powder if you don't like hot stuff)
  • 4.5 cups grated white cheddar and Italian cheeses. (I use the Sargento brand pre-grated cause I'm lazy...but you can add your own mix of grated romano, provolone, parmesan, asiago, etc. I really like dry Monterey Jack as well.)
  • salt to taste

Oil pan (I usually spray with non-stick spray as well).
Layer in potatoes, onions, and cheese.
Pour in the wine.
Sprinkle top with pepper.
Bake at 375 for an hour.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I miss my man, that tender flower...

...It was on a deeply violet night he came to me.
Under unquiet sky, I took his innocence...
His exhausted smile and oak leaves in his hair.
Steadfast he was and at my side in tranquil time or war,
but now he's gone a journey and I wait alone.
I mourn my man, I mourn ahead of time,
His lifeless body, laughter fading from my mind...
--"The Song of Coinchend Cennfada"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Garlic green beans and cashews for the bereaved

I made this tonight and it turned out pretty well, so I thought I'd post it, in case anybody needs to cook when they're bereaved. It also seemed like the thing to do -- post a recipe in memory of Paul.

IIt doesn't take much time or effort and you can do it when your head's in a fog. I put cashews in there because nuts are small, and yet pack a lot of calories -- so when you are grieving and have little or no appetite, you can eat nuts and make sure you are getting enough fuel to run on.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound green beans, cleaned and tips removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup cashew halves

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the beans, salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the marjoram and garlic and saute another minute. Add the water, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes, add the cashews, and cook 5 minutes more. Serves 2 as main dish, 4 as side dish.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Echo, by Christina Rosetti

Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope and love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter-sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brim-full of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death;
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.