Au revoir, M. Pierre

WARNING: This may be a long, rambling post. Bear with me.

To save money, my husband and I go to the library and take out movie and TV DVDs. On one trip, while trying to find something we hadn’t watched to death. I remembered him telling me that he was a fan of a show called “Combat!” which I mostly knew about due to Vic Morrow’s untimely death.  So I found the first set of the first season and took them home.

Talk about not knowing how something small could wind up being so much bigger.  At first I sat and “watched” the episodes (while reading or doing crochet or cross-stitch). Then I started really watching them and eventually, I was the motive force for us watching, even when my husband might not have been as enthusiastic.

In the course of watching them, I realized I had a favorite character – “Caje”, the reliable, quiet and deadly Cajun scout, who Saunders relied on for point duty and silent killing.  I didn’t know much about Pierre Jalbert, the actor who played him, but as someone who knows their way around a search engine, it didn’t take me long to find out.  I also got connected to a surprisingly large Combat! fandom.  I even began writing fanfic.  To this day, I have no rational explanation as to why this TV show (and I’m a Trekker, a LOTR fan and a Narnian from way back – I’m no stranger to fanatic fan bases) meant so much to me.

In July of 2010, the particular group I belonged to met in Burbank, California for a “Recon”.  As part of this, I had the very great fortune to meet M. Jalbert and listen to him tell us stories. I was allowed to sit in one of the two seats of honor (although that may only have been because M. Jalbert changed the seating arrangements without warning! 🙂 ) He was a lovely man and quite charming and polite. It was a pleasure to meet him.

Yesterday (January 23, 2014), one of the members of our group who was friends with Pierre and his wife of 53 years, Joy, sent out an e-mail to let us all know that  Pierre had died. I found myself grieving for him with an intensity that surprised me. I think I had always hoped to meet him again; I had told him at the Recon that if it hadn’t been for him, and Caje, that I might not have started writing again after a very long hiatus.  I wanted to tell him, too, that because I wanted the French in my stories to be right, I started learning French on my own.  That has developed into a severe case of Francophilia – I got back to following the Montreal Canadiens (in French, on RDS), watched French movies, read French newspapers (I’m hoping to tackle at least one book very soon) and my favorite music on my Sansa Clip are the songs from France (Joe Dassin, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Django Reinhardt), Quebec (Ima, Coeur de Pirate, Les Trois Accords, Boom Desjardins, etc., etc., etc.) and Cajun Louisiana (D.L. Menard, Iry LeJeune, Jo-el Sonnier, Beausoleil and Zachary Richard, among others).

I’ve made French-speaking friends – mostly in Canada – and I owe Paul, Louise, Laura, Vivan, Roz, MaxHabs (on Twitter), Ryan, Fred, Jonathan and even Marc (who keeps talking to me in English – I’ve always wanted to ask him if that’s because he wants to practice his English or because my French is so bad 🙂 ) for correcting my mistakes and encouraging me to get better.  (If I left anyone out, blame my memory – je ecris sans vouloir vous offusquer.)

That’s a lot of impact to result from fandom and from a meeting with M. Pierre that lasted an hour or maybe two.

As I read through the messages people are leaving on the Combat! group and the fan page for Pierre on Facebook, I’m moved by the affection people had for Pierre.  He mentioned in different ways how surprised he was that people still remembered him and Caje, nearly 50 years after the program left the air.  He accomplished so much – he was an Olympic caliber skier and captain of Canada’s 1948 Olympic ski team  (1)   After years of competition and championship at many venues, sadly, he didn’t get to compete in St. Moritz because he fell during a training run three days before the Games started and broke his leg.  He was a sound and ADR editor with MGM and he worked on some big projects. And of course, there was Combat!, along with a number of acting roles on TV and in movies. M. Pierre led a full life.

Reposer en paix, M. Pierre. Nous allons tous vous manquez beaucoup. And thanks for the hug.


Love is Blindness…

‘”Love is drowning
In a deep well
All the secrets
And no one to tell…”

U2, “Love is Blindness”

I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about and praying for a lot of friends. My contemporaries and I have started to hit the age where parents and even siblings are encountering serious, even life-ending, illness. While I’ve already had my adoptive mom and dad pass, and seen my sister through some health scares, I still (not being an island) am connected to what those around me are going through.  And I still have some involvement with my birth father. To make a long story a little shorter, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering mortality lately. But that’s not what this post is about.

I have one particular friend who means a lot to me.  No.  I’m tired of being a coward about my feelings — although part of me is glad that my friend doesn’t have time to read blog posts. 🙂  This person is special to me in a major way. And again I’m not being straight up about this.  I love him very much. And right now, he’s helping to see his dad through cancer treatment, as well as running his businesses and taking care of his family on a day to day basis.  Also, I think — though he’s never confirmed it and I won’t press him about it — that he is dealing with health issues of his own.  If you ask him, he’ll say he’s fine and then change the subject to ask you how you’re doing.  He’s that kind of guy.

I’ve never told him how I feel.  I never will. Not that he sees me that way — at most I’m just a nice person he talks to on the Internet — at worst, I’m probably a major pest. 🙂 And I have commitments, too, that preclude this being anything but a long-distance friendship; promises I intend to keep, although there are days when I could cheerfully walk away from them. Sometimes it all gets to be too much. But I keep on keeping on.  And for my friend, I express my love the only way I can — by not saying anything at all. Just to be there as much as is possible, to hold him in my heart and pray for him.

Some times love is muteness, too.

Weight Loss, Round II: Oh, and by the way…

By good rights, I should be posting this on Wednesday, but I anticipate a strange week this week, so I probably won’t get a chance then.

So… I’m pleased to say that my (very gradual) weight loss continues.  I haven’t had a particularly good week or so eating wise, and I’ve (not intentionally, but due to circumstances) not been working out as much, but I am definitely down. Right now, I’m just below where I was at my “low water” mark last summer, so now it’s “onward and downward”, so to speak. It’s my intention to work out at work this week, plus I hope to get a ‘second shift’ in at the Y on Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ve managed to get to a couple of water aerobics classes and liked them very much.  It was funny — the first time I went, I got out of the pool thinking, “Gee, that didn’t seem as hard as I expected,” a sentiment that lasted until I got up the next morning and realized how much work I had really put it.  The water carries some of the load, making it a rather deceptive process.

Saturday I came to work briefly and walked on the treadmill/did the elliptical.  I’m sorry, but no one is going to convince me that the elliptical is easier and less work than the treadmill.  I just don’t believe it.  I’m working longer and at a higher level on the elliptical than I did before, and the stupid thing’s trying to tell me that 20 minutes on it (I split my 40-minute workout between the two) is about a third of the calories of the treadmill workout.  Not a chance. I mean, with the elliptical, you’re moving your arms as well as your legs. I don’t see how it can be less work.

Oh, well.  In the meantime, I think my fantasy football team lost again — at least this week it was closer.  My fantasy hockey league drafts on October 3, and I’m looking forward to that, if only because it also means we’re just three days away at that point from the real thing starting. I<3 my Habs.  (I suppose I should post a warning on Twitter and FB for the non-fans… )

Still praying for my friend.  Really storming heaven on this one.  The thought that I might lose this person is absolutely devastating to me. Please help this special being, Lord.

And for all the rest of you, hope you are well, too.  Always have time to listen and care if you’re not. {{hugs}}

(since 9/7/2011: .97%; since 3/1/2011: 7.11%)

If You Really Knew Me …

… you would know that:

  • I have a very off-the-wall sense of humor. Only a couple of people have ever seen it. One of them is my husband, and he doesn’t get it at all.
  • I’m very quiet when you first meet me.  If I talk to you a lot and ask you questions about yourself, it’s because I trust you and want to know you better.
  • I have an enormous soft spot for children, animals and ordinary people in bad situations.
  • My favorite thing in the whole world is helping other people out when they need it.
  • I want to be accepted, and I rarely am.
  • If you share one of my more offbeat interests, you will probably never get away from me. 😉
  • I am deeply in love with someone who is just on the fringe of my life and who will never know how much he means to me.

They Got a Name for the Winners in the World …

Well, I haven’t won anything yet, but I’d like to. has a contest where you can win your heart’s desire from Etsy, the craft market (as long as it all costs less than $100).

My own list would include:

A really beautiful bracelet by Artisan Jouel. In the description, it’s said the bracelet can be modified or created in a different crystal. I’d love for it to be purple, and it should probably be a scosh larger than 8″. God gave me big wrists/bones for His own good purpose. 🙂

I’d also love to have this sweatshirt for Autumn by Shirtlady. I love Autumn — it’s my favorite time of year and this is a loved color. 2X would be okay.

And finally, because I never can find my gloves when I need them, I’d love these handknitted gloves. I have a special admiration for anyone who can knit. I can crochet all right, but I don’t have the knitting gene. Obviously Rokeliux does, because these are lovely and a great length so you don’t end up with cold wrists.

By the way, I found out about this contest from my friend Rachel who has a store on Etsy. It’s called Huggermugger and you can find it here. Make sure to check it out, even if you decide not to build your own list.

I’m Sorry For the Way Things Are …

Now that I’ve had some time to think, I really feel bad about posting what I did the other day.

I’ve got several friends with REAL problems; children facing illnesses, legal issues before courts that blatantly ignore the facts and perpetuate injustice, other people trying to just get by and get jobs … and here I am complaining because of a situation I put myself in. I knew Tom was bipolar before we were married and I was arrogant enough to assume that I “understood” this and was able to handle it. That I can’t is no one’s fault but my own.

I feel like I owe my friends a giant apology. I do know this: absent a physical, life-threatening situation, I am not going to kvetch about this ever again. End of topic.

In other news … I was heartbroken yesterday when I heard the Habs had traded Jaro to the Blues for the equivalent of a bag of pucks and a used hockey stick. Actually, I was downright po-ed. But I have since heard from several sources that he didn’t want to be in Montreal any more — in fact, may not want to play in the NHL any more — and has had offers from KHL teams.

I’m not happy about it, but what are you going to do? I’m not going to stop being a Habs fan over one player — I like Hal Gill, Scott Gomez, Subban, Cammy, Pleky, etc., etc., and if I’m disappointed, well, hey! deal with it. Being from Cleveland, I’m used to getting wrapped up in players who vanish the following season. C’est la vie.

Thank you …

Despite feeling like I’m something spoiled on the beach this morning, I thought maybe I’d feel better if I thought about the blessings I have, instead of dwelling on being down (on myself and generally).

I’m thankful for:

  • My friends on the Combat! group who give me good feedback on my stories. If I’ve gotten better as a writer, it’s all down to you.
  • That I have this job; right now it’s riding me rather than the other way around, but I’m going to work hard so that changes
  • That I have a husband who cares about me; I pray that God will give me what I need to reciprocate that again
  • For the good people I run into on a daily basis. The smallest kindnesses have become very precious to me and really lift my spirits, whether it’s the guy who held the door for me this morning, the cabbie who showed up right when I needed him or the guys who talked to me at the bus stop. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that they’re there and I am not alone.

And in other news, welcome back to the Cavs, Z. We missed you!