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SPAWNing IDL from IDL under UNIX

hello IDL gurus:  here's a fun self-referential problem that i REALLY need
solved.  i have a lengthy minimization process coded using IDL.  what i
would like is to allow the user to use my widgets to set minimization
parameters, etc. and then spawn idl as a UNIX process which runs the

so i would use spawn to set the idl startup file:
spawn,'setenv IDL_STARTUP my_min_proc'

then, i would like to spawn idl as a unix process, using the unix 'at'
spawn,'at now; idl; ^D'

the preceeding command starts idl using the specified startup file, but it
runs in the current terminal shell.  if i exit the shell, i lose the

any insight into this issue would be greatly appreciated!

david mattes