In Memory of Claudene Christian

Remembering Claudene


“When the heart weeps for what 
it has lost, 
the Spirit Laughs for what it has found.”  Sufi 


December 1, 2012 will forever be etched in my memory.  It was a day filled with sadness for what was lost, and gratitude for what remains.  Words cannot describe the bittersweet sadness  of this day.  To be asked to give the eulogy for Claudene Christian was such an honor.  
Conversations after the service were deep, rich and meaningful.  Over and over again, people said that although they didn’t know Claudene, they felt like they knew her now.  The feedback was so affirming, so wonderful to know that people really got a clear idea of who Claudene was, and what she accomplished.    

It’s time you knew her too.   

Claudene Christian on the HMS Bounty
Claudene Christian was a free spirited soul who lived life to the fullest.  She resonated on levels most folks have forgotten even existed.  While many of you knew her better, I learned things about her that I believe she would like me to share with you.  
Claudene boldly extended herself to meet people where they were.
She greeted new crew members with, “Hi! I’m Claudene Christian, the great, great, great, great, great granddaughter of Fletcher Christian.  If you need anything, or have any questions, just ask.  I want you to know you can trust me.” 
That’s one powerful statement to pull out of a “How do you do?”
At the Memorial Service.  Photo by Rick Blood.



Born on October 18, 1970, Claudene learned to go after her goals early.  When many little girls played “house,” “nurse” or “school teacher”, Claudene set her sights on something else.  Her playroom had an office.  The phone never rang, and there were no real customers at Trott Tuttle Investments, but four year old Claudene didn’t let that faze her pretending to be an “Entrepreneur.”   
Once, when I asked her how to do something on the ship, she winked and said, “Fake it ‘til you make it.”  Claudene spent a lifetime putting that motto into practice.  She wasn’t afraid to take a bold leap into something new and learn it along the way.   
In high school, she did the things that many talented kids do: sang the lead in the high school musicals, competed in gymnastics, earned 16 Varsity letters, and sported 2 tiaras as Miss Alaska National Teen-Ager and Miss Alaska All American Co-ed.  
Marketing was also one of her developing talents.  Always looking for new opportunities, savvy Claudene figured out how to host a high school dance at the town Convention center.  She took the initiative to pre-book dates, and posted flyers at high schools all over town.  She arranged everything from the food to the DJ to clean up.  Nobody knew that the high school student behind the dance parties was pocketing a chunk of change for her efforts.   


In college, she was one of two girls out of 600 to become a USC Song girl.  The status quo of practices, games and socializing in addition to studies did not suffice.  When she saw a holiday wish list from the school newspaper asking for a “USC Song Girl in my pocket,” the spark of inspiration hit her, and she began what became a 4 year quest to make a cheerleader doll. 
Claudene had an indomitable spirit.  
She was not one to let anything hold her back. 
One day, she needed information from the Business Library, but was turned away because she was not officially enrolled in the Business School.  She went back with a borrowed ID, and got in the door.  She needed to research manufacturers willing to make dolls in smaller lots of 3000.  Well you know Claudene.  She got what she was after, and then some.
It would take her entire college career to work the details out for her company, but Claudene was unstoppable.  Three years after the initial crazy idea, and just before the last game, 100 brand new Cheerleader Dolls sat on the shelves at the school bookstore.  The logistics of where to park the other 2900 dolls soon became part of the entrepreneurial gauntlet she was only too willing to run.   
After that game, orders poured in for 1000 more dolls.  A few years later, Mattel would dare to challenge Claudene’s endeavor, they sued her and won! 
She didn’t let that stop her either. Instead, she counter sued.  After 8 years of legal wrangling, she won.  After the judge’s ruling, she had her picture taken with the Mattel representative, because to her, it was a victory lap.      
Obstacles did not impede her.  Claudene didn’t hear “No” very well, either.  Instead, she always found a way to get things done.  The challenges of her endeavors brought her to new levels and introduced her to people willing to help her succeed. 
It was the wisdom of these experiences that she stood upon.  That’s how the newest volunteer crew member could extend her hand and tell you who she was with total confidence. 

And when she did, you knew without a doubt that you had just met your newest ally.   

Claudene and I in Boothbay after the HMS Bounty was hauled out.
Photo by Steve Frederick.

 Claudene was living her dream.  

 Claudene was thrilled to sail aboard the Bounty. Her family’s history with the Bounty was an important connection.  Sailing Bounty fulfilled  a desire lodged deep within her DNA. 
“While everyone shivers during breezy nights at sea, this native Alaskan relishes in the cold temperatures. Although no longer a cheerleader at USC, you can often find her cheering on shipmates as we haul the main top halyard. Claudene has worked for Fox Sports and Churchill Downs in Corporate Marketing. Though Bounty might be her greatest quest yet, she is quick to state that she never backs down from a challenge! It is with great pride, respect and appreciation that she takes this journey in memory of Fletcher Christian and carries on the family tradition to live a “Bounty-ful life.” Although Bounty is both proud and fearful to have a descendant of the infamous Fletcher Christian on board, our Captain hopes that this familial bond does not include leading a mutiny.” 
With the Mounties in Halifax, NS July 2012


Claudene was always learning.   She delighted in stretching herself to meet new challenges and make new friends. 
If she didn’t know something, that didn’t stop her.  She trusted herself in the moment, and even if it was much later, she would learn what made things work the way they did.  
Painting the hull in Boothbay Harbor with Jessica Hewitt.
Claudene was in her element aboard Bounty.  She loved the water, the ocean, loved being a part of something so big.  She enjoyed meeting new people in every port.  She made it a point to get to know the new crew.  I truly believe that if the Crew had a chance to cast a vote, Claudene would win the title of “Miss Congeniality.”   
 Claudene especially loved being a part of the crew.  The girl who arrived with a rolling suitcase packed with shower gear and a hair dryer was the same one who loved immersing herself in the dirtiest jobs on the ship.  She happily volunteered to do grubby tasks like crawling down to the anchor chain locker to flake the chain, or scrubbing out bilges or tarring the rigging. She was most happy with streaks of tar on her face and a grin.    One day, a close friend of hes came by on a boat and waved hello.  Claudene was up the main top halyard, having just crawled out of the chain locker.  She was sweating, flushed, covered in mud, blonde hair flying, smile on her face.  She was having the time of her life.
Her cabin mate, Eliza shared an even more personal look at life with Claudene aboard the Bounty. “She had so many clothes in her bunk that she could barely fit. There was a little hole that she burrowed through and, when she was asleep, all I could see were her fuzzy socks sticking out. Quite often her clothes would fall out, especially if the ship was rolling.  She’d collect them in the morning and shove them back into the bunk.  She had neon lights strung up near the end of her bunk, which she would turn on late at night to make me laugh.  There wasn’t much wind this summer but one day on the Chesapeake, Bounty was heeled way over, flying through the water.  We had to hold on tight as we hurried across the deck to set sails. Claudene told me later that she had been afraid, scared that Bounty would capsize, until she looked over and saw Laura laughing in the wind, and then, she wasn’t afraid anymore. That’s the memory I think of most when I picture Claudene in the days before the Bounty sank.  I wasn’t there, but Doug said she was having the best time ever on the best sail ever.  I think, that on that transit, before everything went downhill, she was laughing right alongside Laura.   By then, she was a sailor at heart.”
Claudene with Laura Groves, in Boothbay, Maine.

Claudene with Laura Groves, in Boothbay, Maine. 
After the ship went down, I saw Claudene dancing in a dream. It was during a performance by Alasdair Frasier and Natalie Haas at the Boothbay Opera House.  It’s a place where the veil is known to be thin.  People and entities gather there because they like the music.  Before going inside, I asked for a sign that Claudene and Robin were OK in the next level.      
I sat on the front row, beside two empty chairs.  From the first note of music, the tears began seeping, and suddenly I was reeling from the enormity of it all.  Only 2 weeks ago, I’d seen the ship off, from the dock a few blocks away.  How very much the world has changed in those short weeks.   
Natalie began playing a song called “Josephine’s Waltz” on her cello.  It may as well have been called “Claudene’s Walz.”  The notes poured forth like chocolate silk, richly beautiful deep tones moving in a slow, loving cadence.  I closed my eyes to absorb it, my heart open.       


Then a picture came to my mind’s eye.   

Out of the blackness, a tiny orb of light floated.  It began to glow, brighter and brighter.  The light stretched into a long, pink ribbon.  I watched it slowly twirl, and expand until I could see a hand, then an arm, and then her face. 
Claudene Christian looked at me with those clear blue eyes and radiated, big, full of life, happy and smiling.  She was dancing, with the ribbon on waves of pure joy.   The light expanded, and I saw others standing around her in a circle.  Robin was there too; smiling at her like he smiled at us all when he appreciated something about us.  Claudene stopped, curtsied and invited him to dance.  Together, they waltzed out to the center of the floor.
After Natalie finished, Alasdair shared his fondness of wooden boats; telling a story of a concert once played under a ship’s upturned hull and the wondrous acoustics that resulted.  With that, he put the bow to the strings, and struck the first notes of “Wooden Ships” in a tribute to the HMS Bounty.   The sound of his fiddle, pure and bittersweet, filled every molecule in the room.  
The music took Robin and Claudene into a new space in my dream.  The circle of light opened wider, revealing more loved ones who have crossed over.  They were all in attendance at this Bounty party on the deck of the ship, a place where many parties and good times were had by countless numbers of people.  Familiar faces jumped out at me. My Dad, my grandmother, my great aunt.  Two more special ones were there, the 4 legged ones whose passing gave me the freedom to say “Yes!” to sailing on the Bounty.    
And that’s when Robin and Claudene stretched their hands out to me and invited me to dance.  I leapt up from the chair and took a turn around the floor, the clump of us somehow all dancing in our own ways, yet in sync.  
I believe the ribbon in Claudene’s hand was symbolic of heart energy connecting us, weaving through all the people as they were dancing on the deck of the ship.  The ribbon was pure love, and light, the highest level of joy, the purest form of heart energy there is.  Claudene was sharing it with everyone, wrapping it around them like a soft blanket.    

As the last notes of Alasdair’s song faded, they struck a new chord within me.  The love of wooden ships and the sea are a common bond of connection shared by many the world over.  The loss of loved ones who live life by the sea is one thing that comes with the unpredictability of that love. 

The magnitude of that vision and its message are clear to me.  If we were to imitate her, we would happily take the experiences that life gives us and squeeze every drop of them dry.

We would make time to say, “I love you. You matter to me.”   
We are to open and share our hearts, to choose to engage, and reach beyond our comfort zones, just a little farther than we believe we can go. 
The Bounty experience showed us how to do that.  It is possible to live harmoniously, with understanding, acceptance and at least as much compassion for each other as for ourselves.  It showed us how we can harness the collection of our individual talents as one, and channel them to a greater purpose, one that involved sailing a fully rigged ship around the world.    
In so doing, we shared this fantastic experience with all hearts that gazed longingly upon her masts, her decks, her billowing sails.    
Claudene knew there was something special about being a part of Bounty Crew.  She enjoyed living in community, stretching herself to grow and learn and be more than she could be.  Bounty was a dream come true for her, as it was for many of us. 
On the outside, it’s apparent that Claudene was successful because of what she accomplished.  To those who knew her for any length of time, her successes were much richer, her life more bounty-ful than we can imagine.  She showed us how to love each moment fully extended, her heart leading the way.  She demonstrated how to dance in the joy of life with delight and streaks of tar on her face.  And she is dancing, dancing, dancing…even now.
The tide recedes, bright seashells on the sand,
The sun goes down; gentle warmth lingers on the land.
The music stops, yet goes on in sweet refrain.
For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains. 
Rest in peace, Claudene Christian.  Your life will always be sweet music in our hearts. 
In Loving Memory of Claudene Christian  
October 18, 1970 – October 29, 2012



This beautiful video was created by Ken Anderson. 

Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

Idle Speed, No Wake


A long time since the last on this blog, but it’s easy to learn why when you see what happened during the accident that changed everything last October.   Here is a glimpse at what happened, and why, and how you can be a part of the healing process and ultimately, the book’s success.

Idle Speed No Wake Campaign

Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

Penobscot Island Air a Lifeline for Islands



Penobscot Island Air  offers an intimate view of Maine’s islands everywhere there is an airstrip.

For places without a
runway, two of the company’s five Cessnas are equipped for amphibious landings
yacht side or dockside.  These are the
same planes that fly in Alaska’s
outlying territories, best known for taking off and landing in places with
short runways.  The Cessna 206 and 207
can carry about 1,600 lbs of cargo and up to 5 passengers.  The Cessna 208 can carry 7 passengers and
carries about 4,000 lbs. 



Need to get something mailed overnight?  The airline handles all mail and overnight
shipping to and from the islands.  When
the weather is not suitable for flying, they handle transporting the mail to
and from the ferry service.  But they
don’t just deliver the mail; they’ll also deliver your mainland grocery order
or even your laptop from one place to the next. 
They’re flexible.   

If a serious medical emergency happens on one of Maine’s
islands, PIA provides the plane and a pilot for Life flights that do not
necessitate transporting via helicopter. 
When the emergency is not so serious, PIA picks up the patient and flies
them wherever needed About 160 flights a year are for medical emergencies.   
With a fleet of 5 planes available on nearly a moment’s notice, Penobscot Island Air is the sole air carrier transporting both two and four legged passengers to the islands.  If your beast doesn’t prefer the ferry, it’s not a problem, just put her on the plane.  Joie is an exhuberant blonde lab whose person is a lobsterman on Matinicus Island.  Joie likes to visit the mainland, but she hates the ferry; she whines, howls and carries on.  Rather than make everyone on the boat miserable, Joie flies Penobscot Island Air instead.  She happily jumps into the plane, sits in ‘her’ seat in the back and minds her manners like she’s fresh out of obedience school.  With only a 15 minute flight instead of a 75 minute ferry ride, Joie is a very happy beast.   
 Mark and Ellen Hoffman are staying on Vinalhaven with
their two children, Isaac and Izzy.  They
have a wedding to go to in New York
for the weekend.  They were planning to
ride the ferry to the mainland and catch a flight from there.  Due to two medical emergencies last night, the
ferry’s first two trips are cancelled.  So
they won’t miss the wedding, the Hoffman’s are flying from Vinalhaven to Owl’s
Head via PIA, then on to Portland
where they will pick up a commercial flight to New York.  With zero stress or hassle, they will make
the wedding.  
There is an unexpected
bonus as a result of this morning’s transportation switch.  Daughter Izzy is afraid of heights.  After flying from Vinalhaven to Owl’s Head,
she is beaming.  Pilot Thomas Sowles
takes a photo of the family in front of the plane, and soon they are ready to
go again.      

The bonus for anyone flying with PIA is the unobstructed
view of Maine’s coastline in an
entirely different way.  
 Because of this,
Penobscot Island Air provides Flightseeing services for up to 6 people.  It’s one thing to drive to a lighthouse, and tour
the inside, or walk around it.  Better
yet to sail by one, and see it as sailors did years ago from the water.   Flying over one close enough to see foamy
waves crashing upon the jagged edges of the rocks is nothing less than
breathtaking.  Tours are custom designed
for each group, so they vary in the number of lighthouses to see and flying
time according to the group’s needs. 

In about 10 minutes, you can be touching down on one of Maine’s
fabulous islands. 
The advantages of a 5 minute flight over an hour and fifteen
minute ferry ride are huge in respect to time, place and experience.  Want to go kayaking around the islands but
don’t want to paddle there?  Up to 6
people and kayaks can fly out on the Cessna 208.  How about camping on an island sans boat?  Fly out with your gear, let them know when to
pick you back up and enjoy the solitude. 
For day trips, take a bike and a picnic basket to a secluded beach.  PIA’s pilots land near some of the most
beautiful beaches in Maine.  They will even fly a wedding party out for an
unforgettably romantic experience.   
 Penobscot Island Air flies 7 days a week, including
holidays.  With six full time pilots and
11 per diem pilots, they are ready to go at literally a moment’s notice.  This allows PIA to offer flexibility along
with excellent service and a breathtaking experience.  These pilots realize that they are lucky to
be behind the controls of a real plane, instead of a commercial airline.   
Many are retired from professional flying and
work with PIA to stay sharp.  One pilot,
Mike Falconeri is spending the summer flying the same kinds of planes in Alaska.  Because of flying here in Maine,
Falconeri fit right in immediately.  Smaller
planes allow pilots and passengers to interact during the flight.  This makes for a more personal experience
that one can’t get on a commercial airline. 
The pilots are friendly, knowledgeable about the area and are happy to
answer questions on the trip.  Flying with
Penobscot Island Air is an unforgettable way to see Maine’s 10,000 islands.    

Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

What We Focus On, Grows

When pain hits you, do you feel powerless?  

When pain is ruling the day, the first thing to do is take a break. Pain is your body’s way of saying – “Hey! Don’t push so hard!” But with FMS, the pain is relentless. It creeps in when we least expect or plan for it, it’s just there, suddenly in a huge way.

Were we so busy ignoring our body’s needs that it had no choice but to say WOAH! Did we push, push push to do something that we really did not need to do?

I remember when pain ruled my every waking moment.   I remember riding in the wheelchair at the grocery store, and feeling so wiped out after the trip that I couldn’t manage the groceries, get them in from the car, or even think of making dinner.  I remember the frustration of not being able to walk very far because the handicapped space in the parking lot was like a long distance sprint to me at that time.

Now that is different. I normally park way out away from the handicapped spot – knowing that walking will do me good. It will kick in some endorphins and overall, make me feel better. I continued to make choices like this until the little changes added up to a big healing over a long period of time.  The changes did not happen overnight, but day by day.

Going through that healing gauntlet was a giant lesson in how to work with my body, how to listen to it, and not view the message of dis-ease as a betrayal, but as a teacher with an important message. 

As I have focused on what makes me feel good, there is less time to think about what makes me feel bad. What distracts me from pain is different from what distracts you. It’s part personal and clinical, these distractions. Humans have created powerful ways to distract ourselves from pain.

To disassociate from the unpleasantness of now in order to persevere through the present, and move forward beyond the overwhelming NOW into the future. The distraction trick works well in times of acute pain or stress that are so intense that you may wonder how you will ever get through it. It’s about not letting the pain distract from the beauty of life, and instead, finding ways to let the beauty of life be one continual distraction from that which is unpleasant. It’s an allowing game as well. “Ok, I’m in the most pain possible, so what can I do to trick myself into forgetting about it – even for a moment?”

Sometimes, one must employ multiple distractions to get through a long term illness. It’s tough to focus on healing, when there is uncertainty of cause.  The cause and the symptom(s) don’t always seem to go together.  That’s the puzzle. 

Illness isn’t easy. Western society demands short term healing. A headache is not a reason to rest, it is a reason to take medicine. We pointedly use and abuse our bodies repeatedly in this culture.  It’s built into our way of life.   

The mind is ahead of the body; it has to be.  The body doesn’t always respond as quickly as we’d like. Sometimes it takes a while to develop illness. It arrives in such miniscule amounts that we don’t really notice. Sometimes it arrives in a jolt.  Coping skills at first are wobbly at best, they only become stronger with the exercise of use.  Once coping becomes a way of life, it’s difficult to separate what one does to cope with what one does to live joyfully. 

Distractions allow the pulling away from that which is most unpleasantly dominating and instead, focus on something more fun.  It’s a way to disassociate from what is unpleasant and park yourself in a better spot.  

The earliest memory of a lesson in distraction involved quick thinking on my Dad’s part. At the sight of his four year old weeping and knashing her teeth over the ruined swimming pool, he grabbed his Tulane issued Modern Physics textbook and flipped to the Ben Franklin page. His ability to distract me with the fascinating story of electricity lessened the shock of losing both my favorite tree and our swimming pool to the lightning strike. It also lessened my fear of the close call we had all experienced as the winds howled into the night.   

This is what holding a camera did for me from the start; I can choose to lose myself in the fascination and beauty of the moment; it gives me something to focus on. I can think about light, shadow, and composition of the shot rather than the demanding symptoms that are rudely ruling the rest of the day.  For this moment in time, I’m not thinking about pain.

Later, the images bring a new sense of gratitude as they flash by in a slide show. They bring surprises and wonder that I didn’t see when the shot was taken, even though I was the one shooting! Then a sense of gratitude comes, just for being there, in the moment. It’s captured, never to be the same again.  The good feeling that was created when I made the image, is repeated as I view, edit, post and play with it.  I was there for that moment, lost in it, not consumed with pain.  The image is proof of the moment, it reminds me of the feeling I had when it originally happened.  And I can tap into it every time I see that image.  One moment adds up to a lot of tiny moments of distraction.  It’s like buying a penny stock and finding out you’ve made a zillion, only the currency is joy, beauty, light, wonder.    

As I create, I think about creating healing with my creations.  Healing inside, healing the pain, healing what needs to be cleared before forward movement can come.  It’s easy to get off track, we are often so “busy” surviving that we lose the tiny joy drops along the way.  We’re moving too fast to notice them. 
Illness and pain, are also messages to slow down.  There is a reason for being in turtle mode, healing takes time and attention.  It has to come first.  We forget that so easily. 

Creating art is also one of my distractions. Every collage, card and image I make is because I’m working on distractions.

Photographing beautiful landscapes and viewing the images is peaceful. Soothing music helps sleep to come when otherwise it would not. In fact, this is the reason I host Tribal Vibe Radio Show, because of the relaxing effect the music and poetry had for me during times of extreme pain. It was one of the tools I used to learn to meditate with in the tub, to let my body relax, to loosen the pain layers. 

As I focus on healing, I focus on creating new works and tap into the joy of creating them.
Somewhere along the way between motivating myself to get up and get on with life and figuring out what distraction may work best, I get into the zone and forget about pain. The joy of creating temporarily eclipses pain, rendering it to a less dominant position on the day.

There are new things to look forward to as the healing comes.

A publicist for creative people, L. Jaye Bell now uses her artistic talents to create positive publicity for creative clients.  Her articles have been published in newspapers, magazines and online.  L. Jaye hosts the Destination Maine Radio Show and the Tribal Vibe Radio Show.  Her work is available online at and

Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup

While Old Man Winter’s winds may screech and howl, stay warm inside with a pot of Mainely Yum!© Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup.

Maine is famous for her community Bean Suppers, gatherings where everyone brings a pot of something yummy to share with the group.  Take this hearty and healthy dish with you the next time you go to a party, and it will be a sure hit.  

Garnish with a slice of avocado (instead of sour cream) and freshly chopped cilantro.  This soup is a beautifully simple way to warm up a frigid winter day.  

This recipe calls for using fresh vegetables and dried organic beans.  With the recent media spotlight shining on studies researching BPA levels in canned foods**, it’s nutritiously savvy to take the time to make this recipe from scratch.  If needed, the bean preparation can be done the night before, and the soup put together the day of the meal.

Trust me, there isn’t a canned soup on the market that can compare!

Organic Vegan Black Bean Soup

Use Organic Ingredients for Best Tasting Results!

1 lb Organic Dried Black Beans
1 sweet onion
1 leek stalk
4 large stalks celery
5 cloves of Garlic
1 organic red pepper
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large Bay Leaves
2 Vegan Bouillion Cubes
2 TBSP of Organic Coconut Oil

Sea Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste

Mixed Wild Rice
Red Quinoa
1 Vegan Bouillon Cube

Freshly made Picante Sauce
1 Avacado, sliced
Chopped Cilantro

Rinse the beans in a colander and drain.  Place them in a bowl that is four times the size of the space they take up in the colander.  Pour heated water over the beans, until there is an inch of water over them.  Let them soak for an hour. Stir and add more, again to 1 inch over the top of the beans.

Meanwhile, chop the onions, leeks, celery, garlic, red peppers and carrots.  Starting with the garlic and onion, saute in the coconut oil on low in a large soup pot with the vegan bouillon cubes and Bay Leaves.   Heat one kettle of water and add to the saute.  Keep the heat on very low so as not to overcook the veggies.

Once the beans have soaked up most of the water, drain them in a colander.  Rinse well with water.  Rinse, rinse rinse!  This helps to get the chemical responsible for making gas out of them before they go into the soup.  Put the beans into a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for an hour or until they soften and begin to split.  Let cool.  Again, pour them in the colander and rinse, rinse, rinse them!.  Add the beans to the sauteed vegetables.  Pour another kettle of water over them, and simmer on low for 1.5 hours.  Low heat keeps the broth clear.  Just prior to serving, season with Sea Salt and Cayenne pepper to taste.  Careful! A little goes a long way.

While the soup is simmering, it’s time to make the grains to serve with it.  I use a  blended mix of Organic Wild Rice, and Red Quinoa.  Measure 1 cup of  the rice mix and 1/2 cup of Red Quinoa.  Add the last bouillon cube, 3 cups of water and stir.  Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, until the Quinoa grains ‘pop’ and the rice is done.

To Serve: 

Fill soup bowls 1/3 with cooked Rice/Quinoa mixture.  Ladle soup over the top.  Add garnish of Tablespoon of Picante Sauce, Avacado slice and top with chopped Cilantro.


Have a Mainely Yum!© Day!

**BPA is a low level hormone disruptor, affecting the health and formation of reproductive organs in babies to reproductive health later in life.  Canned foods are lined with a layer of BPA to help in forming the metal seal on the can.  The online article published by The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine details the ways that BPA affects the body. Check it out here: BPA levels in canned foods.


Maine Blueberry Keifer Smoothie

Got a freezer of Maine blueberries, and need a quick healthy and refreshing frozen drink that will get your day started right?   Try making a Kefir smoothie.

What’s Kefir? Pronounced like “Kee-fur” It’s a cultured milk much like yogurt, but has more of the beneficial  bacteria so important for good digestion.  While it is more widely available pre-made by the quart in the grocery store, these tend to be loaded with sugar, in addition to the being $5 a quart.  Yikes!  

It’s fun to make it yourself with just about any kind of milk.  It can be made with rice milk, goat’s milk, even almond milk.  It takes a day or so to set up.   Get a kefir starter package from your local co-op.  Fresh off the Farm in Rockport and Good Tern Natural Foods in Rockland carry Yo-gourmet.  Look for it in the refrigerated section.

Kefir made from scratch is one way to do better for your body and save money, besides being very satisfying.     Once started, you can always add more milk to the last cup of kefir to create 10 more batches from each starter or more.  It’s a renewable resource that is easily made at home.      

To make kefir:  
2 qts any kind of milk
1 pkg keifer starter.

Follow package directions if desired.  I deviate from heating the milk up as directed, but it does form faster that way.  I simply open the starter package and sprinkle the starter grains into the milk container, close the lid and shake.    Leave it out to ‘set up’ for about 12 hours.  On a warm day, it will set up quickly, so check it every few hours.   It’s done when there are curds forming in the liquid that are about the size of a large pea.   When the container is bulging a little, is also an indication that it’s ready to use.  Shake before pouring.

The kefir is somewhat sour when it forms.  Adding frozen fruit in a blender really turns it into something yummy.   The frozen bananas taste a little like ice cream, and add a creamy texture to the smoothie.

To make a kefir smoothie:  

1 1/3 cups of kefir
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas, peeled and chunked
Dash of Maple syrup

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.  Pour and serve.   Makes enough for two large or four small smoothies.   Share with a friend or freeze in a plastic cup for the next day.  Be sure to wash glasses and blender immediately, because dried kefir adheres to the walls of the glass very well.


This post inspired by a camping trip where the high bush blueberries grew like a vineyard on an island in the lake.  And thanks to Brother Eagle who watched over as 4 gallons of marble sized berries came back with!

May you have a Mainely Yum day!

L. Jaye

Sing to the Dragon

Chronic Pain 
brings another unwelcome gift:


 The desire to just stop doing anything – or really – the absence of desire to do the things you used to do. The things that used to jazz you just no longer trip your trigger.  You know what I mean.  It’s like you’ve checked out of yourself, and in place of the person you used to be is a not so happy soul who would rather be elsewhere. No one wants to be around you, even you don’t want to hang with yourself, because well, it’s depressing.  

I understand.  
I’ve been there.  

I even considered taking a handful of pain pills and checking out of life.  

This was after a pastor emphatically told me to “pull myself up by my bootstraps” several months after an extensive, 4 hour laser surgery failed to bring relief from the chronic pain of Endometriosis.  The ONE thought that stopped from following through on that thought was, “My kids will think it was their fault.”  That’s all that kept me from ending everything at 29 years of age.

I’m SO glad I didn’t end my life story there.

About 5 years later, after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I was undergoing more extensive challenges with chronic pain everywhere in my body.  This time, I was attending my son Wryen’s middle school orchestra holiday concert. It was all I could do to get out of the house and go see him play.
As he beautifully played the cello, I simultaneously felt proud of him, yet the tears started slowly pouring down my cheeks.  Reminded of the holiday season by the gorgeous decorations in the church, and moved by the deep, poignant sounds of the cello, I wondered, “Where is my faith and my irrepressible joy of life? Where did they go?  They had disappeared under the heavy cloak of pain that adorned my body. I could not even sit in a concert and listen to my child play in orchestra for the pain that raged under my skin.  It was all I could do to sit still, silently, and not scream because of the unrelenting pain.

Chronic pain seems to suck the air  right out of the joy of life. 

 The adjustment to a different level of activities, social events and opportunities to participate in events diminishes drastically with the chronic pain of FMS.   Hearing people ask, “How are you?” without really listening to my reply was, a real downer.  They’d say,  “Well, you LOOK good.” and make excuses to dash away.  How could I look good when I felt like crap?   That really depressed me for some reason.  Not knowing how to manage the overwhelming pain, and not having a compassionate physician were also part of the depression picture. Family members cannot possibly understand what I was going through – unless of course they are also diagnosed with a chronic pain dis-ease, which can happen, but more often than not, we are left to feeling alone, as if our bodies are betraying us with every throb and ache.  It’s an invisible, chronic disability that millions suffer with on a daily basis.  

But depression also has gifts that remain hidden until we’ve walked through the fire, and alchemized the raw, unrelenting pain into the gold of wisdom and experience.

The Navajo have a saying that I put in my art works for a reason. It’s to remind me, even now that focusing on good things is the way out of the mist of depression.

“Walk on a Rainbow Trail. 
 Walk on a Trail of Song.
 And all around you shall be beauty. 
 There is a way through every dark mist, 
 Over a Rainbow trail.”

“Walk on a Rainbow Trail.” What does that mean, exactly?  When a rainbow is in the clouds, what is usually going on? Storms. Not just any storms, but powerful ones. Big black, huge thunderhead clouds and soon to be torrential rains. Sometimes in the middle of this, the dazzling rays of the sun will come out, and a rainbow will appear out of nowhere, mezmerizing those with the eyes to see it. So what would a rainbow trail be? It’s the deliberate and conscious observation of that which is good. Focusing on joy becomes a luminous pathway that is filled with unexpected beauty in places one would never hope to discover.  This pathway leads to a better place, out of the dark mist of depression that threatens to overtake at times.

“Walk on a Trail of Song.” This, means literally to open your mouth and sing. I do not care how bad y
ou think it is, there are always opportunities to belt it out.   What good does that do? Well, singing vibrates the pituitary gland, and gives a little nudge in an upward direction to the serotonin levels, which are low during depression. Have you ever known someone who can sing, or hum or whistle and be depressed? It’s virtually impossible to be depressed AND sing your lungs out simultaneously. The two are polar opposites. So if you are down, open your mouth, take a deep breath and belt out the tunes.

So if you are humming along while you’re moseying down the Rainbow Trail, guess what happens? Things start to clear up. One thing leads to another, and before you know it, the black clouds of pain, the depressing mists of uncertainty give way to the unexpected beauty of a brighter day.   

That’s just one way to work with the dragon of depression.  

Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Mexican Rice, Guacamole Spring Salad and Sangria

This enchilada recipe was shared with me by John Gerbstat, captain of Marilyn, a 65′ Gulfstar.

While on Marilyn, I learned a lot about what makes for authentic Mexican food, in addition to an inkling of what it takes to sail a big sailboat.

This enchilada recipe utilizes leftover rice and baked rotisserie chicken.  The Guacamole Salad is a big hit at a parties served with tortilla chips.   The perfect beverage with this meal is homemade Sangria!

Guacamole Salad  

This recipe is enough for dinner one night, and to take to a gathering the next.  Be sure to put the avacado seed in the dip when storing it, so the dip stays green!  Serve over salad greens and fresh picked edible flowers for a little breath of spring at the table.
 1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped

1 lime, or equivalent of lime juice

1 large red or green sweet pepper, chopped

3 large avacados, chopped

3 green onions, chopped
Sprinkle of dried red peppers
Chili powder or hot sauce to taste
Sprinkle of sea salt
1 Cup of chunky picante sauce

Cut avacados lengthwise down the middle, rotating it to slice all the way through without cutting the seed.  take a small knife and slice it into cubes.  With a tablespoon, scoop the chunks out, keeping the spoon as close to the inside of the skin as possible.  Turn chunks of avacado into a glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir together.

Serve as a dip with tortilla chips, or on top of spring mix and edible flower salad.

For the Enchaladas:

1 large sweet potato, baked and removed from the peel.
1 pkg corn or small flour tortillas.  (For the gluten sensitive, use corn tortillas.)
1/2 cup baked chicken, shredded
1 10 oz jar enchalada sauce
    1 24 oz jar chunky picante sauce
    2 C white rice
    1/2 -1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese.
    2 green onions, chopped and sauteed in 1 tsp vegetable oil.
Slice sweet potato lengthwise.  Place tortilla in a large bowl.  Add 2 strips sweet potato and chicken strips.  Sprinkle with small amount of cheese.  Roll and rest in baking dish so the roll does not come apart.

When the dish is full of enchilada rolls, pour the enchilada sauce over them.  Sprinkle with remainder of cheese, add onions on top as garnish.   Bake for 15 minutes at 400, or until cheese on top melts.

Home Made Sangria:

1 bottle inexpensive white wine
orange, sliced into 1/2 circles
lime, sliced into 1/2 circles
1 container frozen, concentrated peach juice
1-2 Cups Club Soda, to taste
Lime to garnish

Combine all ingredients into pitcher with ice and serve.

Have a Mainely Yum! Day!

Oh….wait! You wanted a pic of the Captain?

That’s the view from Marilyn of the sunrise in Beaufort, Taylors Creek.

Here we go on a sailing adventure out of Taylors Creek and into the harbor in Morehead City, NC.   John was happy to hand over the helm to Lindsey, who really proved that she knew her stuff!

Have a Mainely Yum! Day!

Harry Manx Wows Audiences with Earthy Blues and Heavenly Rajas

It’s the week after Valentines Day, and I’m still in love.  It’s a different state of being for me, but I’m going with it.  I’m infatuated, head over heels for the sound of someone new in my ears whose music has taken hold of my heart. 

I’m in love with a fresh combination of acoustic genius flowing from the fingers of Harry Manx.  
The live show grabbed my heart from the first note onstage at the Strand Theatre in Rockland, Maine last Saturday night.  After the show, Harry was kind enough to gift me with four of his CDs, two of which are live recordings.

We talked for a while after the show, about his life and experiences in India, and how he came to be in Rockland, Maine.   We’ll hear that on the podcast, but you must know that for the last 4 days I’ve spent the better part of the day and night baptizing my ears with his music.

There’s nothing worse than a new convert, but after 72 hours of aural pleasure, I’m hooked.  The more I listen, the more I grow into it, relax with it, and let it tumble gently to splash into my soul.  Yep, the signs are all there.  This is what happens when I fall in love with music. 

All the right elements of previous successful musical relationships are present:  Intelligent lyrics – just enough to strike a chord in the brain and make you think – paired with the gentle plucking of a six string banjo, the mystical East Indian visions of the Mohan Veena, six string lap guitar and yes, softly played harmonica.  Here’s proof that even the harshest instrument can be tamed in the master’s hands.  The occasional instrumental raja is also offered, a perfect accompaniment for vision questing. 

One can meditate, sun salutate or slowly swirl gyrate while listening to Harry Manx, or light a candle and lose yourself staring into the flame. 
Its tub worthiness has yet to be tested, but it’s not tough to imagine it will fare well.    
Harry’s music is captivating.  It whisks me to another level, another plane of existence, soaring on a magic melody carpet, a transcendental Zen experience of blues as I’ve never heard them before.  Yes, I said Blues, as in the blues.  You read it right.
Harry is a prolific songwriter with a gift for expounding upon the music of others.
The problem with covers is that most of the time, the new version can’t possibly live up to the original.  
“Freebird” might be the most requested encore anthem of the last 30 years, but until the drumming genius of Artemis Pyle brings your awareness to the level of excellence demanded by the song as it was written to be played, there simply aren’t others who can touch it.        
The best cover songs incorporate a respectful nod to the song’s maker, freshly minted by the indelible sound of the current musician.  Truly successful covers are renewed and reshaped into new levels of music brilliance that make their original owners proud.  Listening to Manx’s live recorded version of “Voo Doo Child”, on Harry Manx & Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio, I see Hendrix nodding his rainbow crocheted head out of a smoke cloaked, hooka laden room.  His body is suspended, lightly floating over a nest of pillows scattered across a Persian carpet.  Lost in thought as the song opens with 6 string lap played banjo, Tablas, and a harmonica tease, this song lets him know: This is a different kind of trip.  
Its East India heaven meets West Delta earth, the combination a swirling magic carpet ride to Mallhampuram with Mohan Veena, harmonica and 6 string banjo strapped firmly in the driver’s seat.   
After the first verse, a harmonica solo takes us soaring for a moment, lightly climbing, to drop gently into the hypnotic trance woven by the Tablas, Manx’s fingerings and slides on the banjo, and the East Indian scat of Indian vocalist, Samidha.    After the second verse, the harmonica is back to relaunch us further into the ethos, accompanied by a deeper, finger led banjo trance.  It’s a nine minute trip into enlightenment.  
Jimmy picks up his head, slowly sucks in a deep breath and says, “Play it again, man.”  

The layers of Harry’s songs are an intoxicating, transfixing, an eagle glide medicine vision into higher realms, a 3D glance into at the larger picture to experience what human eyes won’t envision in real time.   It grooves, it lives, it breathes on its own, powered by the classical traditions of old and the courage of new. 

A relative newcomer to the acoustic scene, Manx went to India in 1988, on a trip he’s never quite returned from.

For 12 years, he learned to make sense of the music, studying under spiritual Masters and gradually learning to unlock the mysterious vault of East Indian music. He also learned to meditate and to figure out “who” was within.  Harry continued on to play music for the commune when his teacher left his body.    After several years, He met and studied with his second Master, classical musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.  The best teachers  know when the student is ready to operate on lessons learned.  In 2000, Bhatt told him he had taught him all he knew, Manx went to British Columbia to pay his dues on the streets.  While making living playing blues-infused Indian rajas on the corners of Vancouver, he gathered enough funds for a one day studio session, an investment in himself that eventually netted 50,000 sales of his first CD, Dog My Catand the Canadian Independent Music Award for Blues Album of the Year 2002.   Not a bad response for a 45 year old first timer.

Ten years, eleven CD’s and a DVD later, he’s spending time on the touring circut with the likes of Richie Havens, traveling the globe from British Columbia to Australia, and Quebec to Nova Scotia with an occasional dip down to U.S. Northern states.   He’ll go further South to appear at Merlefest in May.   If you’re lucky enough to be in a town where he’s onstage, do whatever you can to make the show.  If not, head to his website online store right now and order up so you won’t miss out.

Harry’s website is


Bread and Buddah2009
Harry Manx & Friends Live at the Glenn Gould Studio, 2007   
In Good We Trust – with Kevin Breit – 2007
Mantras for Madmen – 2005
West Eats Meet – 2004
Harry Manx Live: Road Ragas 2003

Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot  Various Artists “Bend in the Water” 2003
Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash Various Artists “Long Black Veil” 2003

Jubilee – with Kevin Breit – 2002
Wise and Otherwise – 2006
Dog My Cat – 2000 Winner, Canadian Independent Music Awards Blues Album of the Year

 Wild About Harry: Live at the Basement – DVD – Recorded live in Sydney, Australia  


Gypsy Blonde Report by L. Jaye Bell

Relief Breakfast

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

So today I’m sore and achy.  Galavanting along the Maine Coast to capture photos in the bitter cold is bound to make the muscles cranky. Worth the effort to get to Boothbay Harbor and Damasascotta.  

Let’s see what I can create to make my body a little less grumpy.  Time for a Pain Relief Breakfast to start the day.  

Fresh pineapple, and wild caught salmon have pain relieving  properties. I also have a hankering for comfort food: grits, goat cheese and red potatoes. Cherries are good collagen builders.  Let’s see what we can create.

Breakfast in a Bowl Casserole
Sunshine Salad
Last in the fridge juice

Mainely Yum! Breakfast Casserole  

This can be served as a warm whole grain breakfast 
or baked in the oven as a casserole.  
For Grits:
1 C. water + 1 pat butter. 
3T. Stone ground yellow grits
1 vegan bouillon cube
3 brown eggs
4T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3- 1/2 C leftover cooked Salmon, or Steelhead (to taste) OR Smoked Salmon
few sprigs of thyme

For Casserole:
3 red potatoes
olive oil
4 large whole wheat crackers 

Bring water, butter and bouillon cube a light boil.  (Small bubbles gather at the bottom of the pan.)  Sprinkle grits over surface of water and let them sink to the bottom.  
Stir and turn fire to low.  Simmer 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Crack all eggs and drop in pan one at a time in a triangle pattern.  Let sit for 2 minutes.  Add fish, goat and 3T of parmesan, mixing together, being sure to scrape bottom of pan.  
Let thicken and simmer on low for 2-3 minutes.  

This can be served in a bowl, garnished with remaining parmesan and fresh basil.

For casserole, wipe bottom and sides of small ceramic tart pan with olive oil. 
Slice new potatoes lengthwise into chips 1/4″ thick.  
Layer potatoes in pan, then spoon grits mixture on top.  
Top with crushed cracker crumbs.  

Bake 15 -20 minutes in 400 (F) degree oven. 

Mainely Yum! Sunshine Salad

To make things easier, this recipe uses pre-cut fruit.  

6 Fresh Cherries
1-2 chunks fresh pineapple
1-2 lg chunks fresh cantelope 
1 navel orange, 
small basil leaves   

Pit cherries, cut into small pieces.  Slice thin slivers of pineapple and cantelope.  Quarter orange in half, and slice 2 quarters into smaller wedges.  Cut off rinds off smaller wedges. Combine in bowl. Squeeze juice from rest of orange into bowl.   Mix, add sprig of basil for garnish.  

Last in the Fridge Juice:

I combined the last few swigs of organic apple cider, carrot juice and real cranberry juice into one glass.  Yum!

Enjoy A Mainely Yum! Day!

Walk in Beauty, 
L. Jaye