...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Take Good Care of Yourselves, Okay?
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I spent about three hours yesterday with a bunch of friends over at our friend Anna's house, helping to sort all the books for sale/giveaway. Others did that, schlepped boxes, cleaned out the garage. It's a weird feeling - it's something I can actually DO for Anna, who died in January. Weird. I mean she's not here to appreciate it. It IS in part a thank you to her/our friend, the amazing Karen, who was her executor, and also just took on immense responsibities when Anna got sick - power of attorney, dealing with doctors, oy. So a number of us have been pitching in, from providing (we hope) the expertise we have and nrainstorming "who would appreciate THIS?" or "is this worth anything?", to consulting, piling up, packing up, sorting out, moving boxes, offering food and beverage and hugs and providing grunt labor, sorting, recycling. Good news - Carrie wants the worm bin. Hey, give that book to Jane, she likes pop-up books (who knew?) I took away 10 or 12 blank books, journals; they are regularly requested at New Beginnings, the shelter for battered women where I volunteer. So Anna's love of garage sales and eclectic and wide ranging tastes and interests is being seeded and scattered all over the place. Pretty cool.

This is being a ZINGER of a damn year, though, and I'd like it to stop please. For the sake of my friends as well as my own selfish personal side. Since January 1, my communities have lost four people. And it's only February 20, dammit. I know, I know as we get older, blah blah blah, but not all of these fit that "aging and it was time" profile. Anna died too young - fast - from cancer. It happens yes, but don't even begin to try to START to pretend that you get used it happening. Then came the news that Jack Chalker died. I didn't know Jack but we were one degree of separation, as many of my friends knew him. Jack was a long-time science fiction writer; he'd been quite ill, but still. He died last week.

On Thursday came the news that Buz had succumbed. F. M. "Buz" Busby was a science fiction writer and fan, I've known him for years. Years. He was a local fixture here in Seattle. He and his wife Elinor were a part of my wider circle of s.f. friends/acquaintances for as long as I'd been in that circle - almost 30 years Again, he'd been ill for weeks and he was 83 years old but...

Then came the stunner on DorothyL today that Barbara Burnett Smith had a fatal accident yesterday. She and her husband had traveled to San Antonio to rescue a dog. The dog escaped from their car and in trying to retrieve him, Barbara was hit by a car. She didn't make it.

Jesus. Can we have a breather here? Again, I knew Barbara, not well, but we were part of the same community and her first book was published in '94, the year of the Seattle Bouchercon, so it was inevitable we'd cross paths. It means possibly I helped put her on one of her first mystery convention panels. I think we shared a row on a plane to some convention once. And I know our planet is dealing with the still horrific aftermath of the tsunami. I know, I know. But.

Elinor Busby asked for donations for tsunami relief in Buz's name; Patsy Asher, Barbara's friend, (whose bookstore Barbara was visiting when this happened) reports that Barbara's family donated her organs to help people. I mean COME ON! Sheesh. This is HARD.

So forgive this next line which is anything but original but is truly heartfelt. PLEASE, let's be CAREFUL out there.

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