Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oh Yes?

Okay I understand that "Artificial Mystery Flavor" on my Dum Dum lollipop is funny. But what about this? Read those ingredients.

Some of you watch out for carbs. Me, I watch out for crabs.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Idea for You

Please get fabulously rich creating the following:

Ice mini-golf. Who wants to sleep in a hotel made of ice? Who wants to bundle up and leave a New Year's party to look at an ice sculpture of a dolphin? Give us what we really want: a mini golf course we can play in winter. Made of ice, naturally.

Thank you in advance.


It's a Mystery, Dum Dum

If ironic truth is a new trend in food packaging, things are gonna get gross.


(Okay, Maybe I Had Four Kinds of Chocolate)

I accomplished many things this holiday weekend:

  1. I learned to skip rocks, a skill that eluded me in childhood.
  2. I climbed a small mountain instead of a big one as the first of the season and thought it was cool that there were toddlers up there too.
  3. For the first time I did not come in last while playing mini golf.
  4. I did not punch the officer who gave me a $200 speeding ticket on my birthday.
  5. I got up early and paddled in the harbor and was home by noon like someone who lives next to the ocean, instead of making a big production out of getting somewhere north to kayak.
  6. I recognized even more of the landmarks on the shore due to having explored so much on Saturday.
  7. I was given an unexpected birthday cake at a bbq tonight and did not spit on it while blowing out the candles.
  8. I only ate three kinds of chocolate when there were five available at the party.
  9. I never got sunburned despite being outside most of the last three days.
  10. I opened someone's beer with my belt.


Sunday, May 28, 2006


(Dennis with a particularly challenging golf shot)

Once while I was in high school I participated in a guided meditation. We were guided through a series of visualizations, and then we were to think of a question. We were to open a closed door in front of us, and ask our question of the higher power that we found beyond the door. I opened the door. I found . . . a potted plant.

One day I will have enough sunshine to have potted plants and to avoid existential crises on my birthday. Today I had enough sunshine for a short mountain hike and some miniature golf with dear friends -- thanks.

I miss a lot of people today.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Allston, Quincy, Dorchester, Roslindale

I'd planned to assistant lead a mellow sea kayak trip in the Rowley River down thru Ipswich and the backside of Plum Island today. I was hoping for a calm reintroduction to my gear, which sat uncharacteristically unused a good part of the last year, a chance to spy on some willets and egrets and a good time with some new people. But there was a chance of lightening and no good bail out spots so we cancelled it. Instead, today glenn and I explored where we live.

We drove to Allston in the morning and had a Columbian breakfast. Then we found just how fast we can drive over to the beach in Qunicy. (10 minutes) Then we explored Squantum in Quincy and we walked along the beach along the road out to Long Island that you aren't allowed to drive down. It was warm and we spent a couple of hours there. Glenn taught me the finer points of skipping stones. I taught him about horseshoe crabs and razor clams. It was nice, and looked like we were somewhere a lot less populated, except for the cigarette I saw extinguished on the back of a beached skate, and a good deal of washed up debris. And as we left we passed a guy who had decided to drive an SUV onto the wet sand with a canoe on top and buried his car up to the wheel wells.

Then we took a look at what was a big blank spot there on glenn's road atlas. It's Marina Bay, a peninsula full of condos and a park and fish restaurants and docks and docks full of boats and a beach side club/restaurant called Water Works where band play and you can hang out and eat or dance on the sands and they have real palm trees. Someone once described going on a date here to me and I had no idea where they were talking about and assumed it was on the Cape.

Then we drove around the edges of the water the best we could toward the city. We sampled fudge from a local chocolate shop. We took a look at UMass Boston and the JFK Library and Carson Beach. We won ugly shirts and hats and drank free Snapple at a radio station promotion on the boardwalk.

We drove the length of Dot Ave. noting where all the great Vietnamese places are in the city these days. Then we drove over to Rozzie Village. It's so cute – it has some cute little boutiques and some restaurants with a brick courtyard full of tables. It is next to a commuter rail stop. It made me want to open a store, but places are still sitting empty there. Before leaving we of course sampled the local bakeries and sushi.

Then back home to pack a picnic for a little hike tomorrow. I'll be 37 tomorrow. Last year on my birthday I was passing the final "Scenarios Day" of my kayak trip leader training out in the Marblehead area. I landed and launched in little crevices in the rocks and surf, rescued variously "injured" people, lead people on various legs of the trip, stabilized a "hurt" paddler while being towed through surf to a rocky beach. It was hard playing along with pretend scenarios. You couldn't prevent anything from happening, only deal with it after it did. (Of course today I prevented a trip with planned routing and timing in order to be careful and replaced it with a haphazard journey through unfamiliar places! But 't'weren't the ocean.)


Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

Today I had an appointment with the eye doctor. So of course I brought my camera.

I asked her at least four questions per instrument or test. I made jokes. I complimented her. I let her rediscover the weirdo formation my right optical nerve has.

But she wouldn't let me take a picture of my eye through anything. She said slyly: "There are special cameras for that. But I don't have one." I was bad. I asked her about whether she had to study a lot about the brain in school and got her to say "Yeah, but I don't really use it day to day, you know?"

I giggled to myself while I sat in a chair waiting for the drops to dilate my eyes. Another eye-drop tripping guy sat down next to me. I looked at his Fluevog shoes and asked him if they were Trippen shoes just to entertain myself. "Oh. my. god. Do you know where you can get Trippen here?!" he practically yelled, turning to lock dilated irises with me.

When I left the office, I stopped at each store in the complex on my way out and asked if I could have a token for the restroom. Then I walked home a couple of miles instead of taking the subway so that I wouldn't run home and make Restroom Token earrings out of them before I could actually see clearly again.

On the way home I did a couple of errands. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone in any store I stopped in so they wouldn't think I was tripping. This is hard for me. I felt like I would with a blind spot, like I was missing important information. Like if only I at least had a picture of my eyeball to refer to . . ..

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Things Aren't as They Seem

Not a bad day for not having slept much last night. Things were consistantly different than they seemed at first, in that special sleep-deprived way -- but not in a Twilight Zone way.

I worked finishing rings for another jeweler at the bench in the front window of her shop all afternoon. What was impressive about this is that I successfully did NOT lean outside and yell "Nice Ass...phalt!" to the guys trying to strike poses while displaying butt cleavage in the process of working on the sidewalk outside. Later in the day one grubby guy, whose suspenders had unfortunately popped off on one side while he was working, stumbled to the locked door with his fly unzipped and looked at me aggressively. I unlocked the door for him and thought he was going to ask to use the bathroom, but instead he whipped out a hundred dollar bill and bought some pearl earrings for his girlfriend for her birthday.

I was relieved to find I didn't have "the dropsies" today since yesterday I was clumsiness incarnate. Jade, who owns the jewelry shop, told me about a guy who, on the first day of a high profile designer job, hit a springy-handled scoop of tiny diamond baguettes on the edge of the karat scale, spraying them upwards. His coworkers spent the next half hour picking diamond lice out of his hair with tweezers.

After work I walked into a bookstore and picked up a book by Elinor Lipman that looked interesting... and then she walked in. The store suddenly filled up with people to see her. She was there for a reading and was introduced by a similar style of writer, Mameve Medwed (or Mascara Medwed, as I think when I see her). Elinor read a nice brief amount and was charming and entertaining and afterwards I was able to have a chat with her. It really was a good turnout for a night competing with a Sox/Yankees game, the finale of Lost and the American Idol pagentry. Go Cambridge! Elinor lives in western MA and I mentioned that my brother lived out her way and is the managing editor of the Massachusetts Review. Elinor said her first really great rejection note, the kind where an editor took a lot of time to type up thoughtful notes, was from the Mass Review. I told her Cory just randomly sent me rejection notes. I didn't even have to submit anything.

Today, however, Cory sent me the coolest present for my birthday. It was on the table with the mail when I came home. Look closely, it contains two kinds of screwdrivers, a bottle opener, and a couple kinds of wrenches. I promptly donned my bat belt and ran around the house with my superhero sidekicks (our two kittens). Sadly, I could not hang myself on my magnetic strip where I hang pliers. For some reason I found myself wishing it had a hidden knife, too. I blame glenn for this since as I fell asleep last night he was singing "abunakunasasoodesu" over and over in various tunes -- that's the complicated Japanese grammar he'd just learned to say: "It doesn't seem to be dangerous to me. . . ."

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Earth Sandwich

What if you put a piece of bread on exact opposite points of the Earth? Has there ever been an Earth Sandwich??? Click here, and click on zefrank's face to watch the explanation. You might make your way into the League of Awesomeness. This is extremely funny:

Earth Sandwich


Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Here's a bracelet design I was working on this afternoon. I sometimes watch/listen to movies on tv while working, and today saw/heard the very charming Here Comes the Groom with Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. The convincing delivery of such snappy reparte seems like a lost art. Anyway, comment or email and tell me if you like this design or not.


A Belated Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, my mother gives me flowers.

The majority of my garden is plants that I haphazardly dug up from my late mother's garden in a last-minute, hot, buggy frenzy the afternoon before closing on the sale of her house. The garden is where I felt connected to her after she was gone.

She died unexpectedly and most of the plants were a mystery to me until they bloomed last year. She was proud of her prolific yellow lady slipper that is blooming by my sliding glass door. She would have called me up and told me how many slippers were on it, and then complained for at least 20 minutes about the woodchucks and moles and squirrels. "There's a whole army of them, Beth. Laugh all you want."

While I am so glad I took some of the plants with me, and I love seeing them come up, it does make me miss my mom. And dealing with the recent loss of my friend Jim and missing my mom, and thinking about whether to have a kid and all this triggered a very emotional experience last night which has inspired me to share this picture of her.

I was lying on the couch and I thought I heard someone say, "Look who's here!" and my mom walked into the living room. Mom! I yelled. Mom? She walked past me smiling at something. She had gained some weight, but looked soft in a grandmotherly way, and was wearing a white fuzzy sweater and had her hair in a nice looking tight perm close to her head. She didn't stop. She bent over and was looking at something. Mom?! Mom!? I screamed. I grabbed her in my arms but she kind of disintegrated and then I started to come back to consciousness and then her head felt like maybe it was really a cat head in my hand and then I was just in my bed and there wasn't even a cat in my arms. I think I woke myself up yelling.

This really rattled me. Often when I dream I kind of know I'm dreaming. I even rewrite endings to dreams sometimes. I didn't have any of that sort of awareness when she walked in. I really thought I was on my couch and so that little piece of my brain that thinks maybe she's just on vacation and might show up anytime (I still have that even though I found her dead in her house) worked on me I guess. I only envisioned her one other time and it was not long after her death when I had more nightmares. In that one she came to the spot I had chosen to get married in (she was waiting for me to pick a place and date when she died) and looked around with me, looking out over the lake and nodding quietly. I could smell her and see even the tiny hairs on her cheek that time. This one last night was less vivid but really freaked me out nonetheless.

I don't have a lot of pictures of my mom from my childhood anymore, as most of them were destroyed during my parents divorce. However, I found this one at her house and it is from us being happy together and I keep it by my bed, since I sometimes forget those times. Judging by the fact that I'm wearing my brother's handed down Bicentennial type t-shirt and my missing tooth, my mom is around my current age in this photo. Later she would gain a lot of weight and battle a lot of psychological and physical demons.

I felt so solid with my emotional relationship with my friend Jim; I had long since said in a million ways all the things I wanted to say to him. We had years to talk about everything, knowing he was on a fast route out. I had a well-appointed shelf all decked out and prepared in my emotional being somewhere where he fits. Moms are so complicated to begin with, and with my mom's death being so sudden and traumatic, I guess I'm going to run into her in the empty spaces until hopefully I find the place for her to settle into too.


Recent Creations

Things have been a little dark and sketchy looking lately. . . patinas and etching and playing with various metals together. Still experimenting to get my etching down the way I want it on the silver. It's a lot easier and faster to etch silver with nitric acid, but since I'm working in our living room essentially, I don't feel like having that around right now. I am using ferric nitrate which is a little tamer, but still acid. It's just fussier.
In that first pair of earrings I was thinking about bird foot prints. I made a good stamp of some last year that I haven't been able to find, sadly. The next ones are shibuichi and silver bimetal. It makes me think of bamboo. I made a necklace and earrings set with similar looking pieces with labradorite beads that were glowy blue with coppery shimmers. There are black and white etched silver earrings and some rings with various gold and silver combos.


Monday, May 22, 2006

I Heart Bubble Tea

"You are what you eat" -- let's chew some gummi bubbles!!


You Are What You Eat

I have this dilemma whenever I'm about to go grocery shopping: I have too many choices of where to shop. There is a more than one giant Shaws near me (standard fare, takes coupons), several sizes of Whole Foods (seems healthy, great looking produce and fish), a Trader Joe's (good prices, not too many additives in prepared foods), a food coop (good organic foods and nice meat), Market Basket (very affordable, not necessarily as healthy and a combat shopping experience) and Johnny's FoodMaster (depressing molding carpets and horrible produce). With a wee bit more driving I have other giant chains, as well as Asian and Russian markets.

But anytime I actually really think about it, I go to the food coop.

There is so much to be careful of when shopping for food. What the animals were fed or treated with, what pesticides could be contaminating so much of what I consume, and then there is whom I feel like giving my money to. I mean I could go to the health food section of any of these stores and buy Hains or Poland Springs or Kashi or Boca Burgers or Cascadian Farms products. Sounds like organic foods and spring water. But these are giant corporations owned by much larger corporations and I'm actually buying products from the same giants like Heinz and Nestle and Kellogg and others and giving my money up the chain to places I just don't want to, like Phillip Morris.

The pesticide thing frightens me a lot. It's in our food, our food's food, the run off that other food lives in, and more. Some pesticide technology stems from Nazi inventions. Roundup, one of the most common pesticides, is known to cause cancer. And that's kind of a mellow one compared to others it seems.

And then there is the problem that after at least a decade-long struggle to make the term "organic" mean something, a bunch of Republican leaders in Congress wrecked it again last fall with a bit tacked on to the end of this year's Agricultural Appropriations Bill. This is all about big business again and has become meaningless for people actually trying to eat well. Big business supports big business. Just under half of all organic food is sold in regular big supermarkets, so all the giants sell organic food now and all the giant supermarkets support the giant brands, Even Whole Foods supported this bill.

What I eat, where/what house I choose to live in, and the car I drive are much huger considerations for the planet than whether I remember to recycle the magazine I just read.
And it's so hard to change culture. On top of people's general lack of education on why what they are doing to the environment affects everyone, themselves, and the lifespan of our species, everyone is so overwhelmed by information. It's easy to market things to you that you'll buy. It's easier for you to relate to the spin put on the product than to spend time thinking and doing research. And the overwhelmed population tries very hard to think about just today and just this moment in order to cope, when we actually have to have a little foresight so as not to trash the place in our self-absorption.

So glenn and I decided last year to try a little harder with our food consumption. So we try to shop at the food coop, which is a local place with high standards about what it carries. And we joined a CSA. That's community-supported agriculture. It means for 20 weeks of the year (the harvesting season here) we pick up a share of produce once a week. Because while I have a lot to learn about Everything still, it seems clear to me that buying locally grown food is probably better already than buying organic food that was shipped here from 3,000 miles away or more. And we found a Massachusetts farm that grows organic food and distributes it from the parking lot of our food coop. (And they donate their leftover food!)

While it's a lot of work, managing all the washing and preparing of 7-10 pounds of vegetables a week, we don't have to think about what or where to buy it, and we ended up eating far more healthily. We end up eating the right amount of vegetables and we have so much food in the house that we do less of our other bad habit (for food/money/health), which is eating out too often. It also inspires us to have people over to eat more often, since we have so much food around! What we need to do a better job of this year is preserving and canning and freezing food for the off-season. We're in New England, and not much grows in the cold months besides some parsnips I think. We're also growing a little food, testing out our garden-maintenance ability and using raised beds as a little research has shown our back yard was once an auto repair garage.

You can find out how to buy fresh, healthy, local food from a store, farmer's market or CSA near you here: http://www.localharvest.org/ Or wait a few weeks until I'm knee deep in locally grown greens and come over for some salad!


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Idea for You

Please get fabulously rich creating the following:

I would like a product that works like Open Table (www.opentable.com -- it's for making resto reservations) but is for household repair issues. Like I'd like to scroll through various professionals by category, see their specialties and attempt to reserve them for particular times.

Thank you in advance.


Movie Report

Some films I've seen in the last few weeks

Thank You for Smoking – a very smartly written, well cast, very funny movie. Go see this one.
American Dreamz – I'm not sure what I expected, I mean its point is to be fizzier than TV
Friends with Money – it forgets to have an ending
Brokeback Mountain – nicely made film full of heart pangs and scenery.
Rent – Fun to see a modern musical – I thought they adapted it to film fairly well.
Lonesome Jim – More of what I would have hoped Jersey Girl was gonna be like, a downbeat misfit amusement directed by Steve Buscemi, with Casey Affleck instead of Ben, and this time Liv Tyler is the one with the kid. Affleck's character was too unlikeable tho, and it wasn't clear whose point of view it was from exactly.
The Aristocrats – this is more entertaining than I anticipated; fun.
Russian Dolls – fun if you enjoyed Aubergine Espagnole. I love seeing European 20-something lives where romances and jobs and weekends can all so easily encompass other cultures and countries
Chronicles of Narnia – disappointing, even for an airplane movie. Would have been cool as super trippy Japanese anime.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Roast Pork, HK Eatery

Hi, Petunia here. I was going off in style in this nice wooden box, and you left me sitting around on a table with my tail in the air and a bill attached? Then you ask the patrons if they mind sharing a table with me? I know I said I'd give you the skin off my back, but this is just rude.


Lookit, I'm an Artist! Ha.

Last night glenn and I had ourselves a date at The Blue Room. I had soft shelled crabs with greens and roasted tomatoes and a remoulade sauce. I really never have figured out how much I like soft-shelled crab vs. how much I like that they look really creepy on a plate. Either way I enjoyed them. I then had lamb, which I rarely eat. These were steaks cooked in herbs and served with what I think was sautéed pea tendrils and a cassoulet of beans and garlic and other yummy bits. It was enough that I'll have it for a couple more meals. It was unusually delicious, as was the planked arctic char with preserved lemon and duck cooked in a port reduction with Brussels sprouts and wild rice timbale that glenn ate.

Today we were deciding between a bike tour of historic buildings in Somerville, a bike tour of green buildings in Cambridge, and the South of Washington Art Walk. Waking up a bit late made the decision. We'll likely go sample a new place in Chinatown for lunch, and then go to the South End and prowl galleries and open studios and the season opening of the South End Open Market.

I'm struggling with the concept of getting studio space myself, and have been looking at all kinds of spaces. I think I want my own space to be a freak in, where there are not these two incredibly cute kittens curious about everything I'm doing, and playing with my stuff. It would remove lots of toxic and sharp things taking up half our living room. Maybe if we had a people-friendly living room more of our friends and their kids would come over.

So I've been talking about sharing space with a friend, and that seems okay, but we need a small space that allows torches, which has been harder. One space I saw was really office space. Another would be built out for me with ventilation, but would be way too much money. Another is deciding if I'm a good fit in a coop that would require me at meetings and on committees. And now there's the possibility of sharing someone else's metal studio in an artists building I rather like, which would give me access to a rolling mill and some bigger torches and whatnot. But it wouldn't be My space then. Hard to say how to proceed.

In the meantime, I was asked to come up with an artist's statement for Penumbra, the gallery in Gloucester that is carrying my jewelry. It opens this week. I hate artist statements. Here's what I came up with:

I spent most of my years working online and on television. So, it's no wonder I spend most of my time now hitting things with hammers. I published numerous articles online and in print, read my work on NPR, oversaw a number of major websites, and was a regular on several international television shows. I left the business on a severance check, which I used to write a travel book, and then I took up jewelry making.

I needed this journey, and this degree of maturity before I could work with metal. Metal smithing is a wonderfully balanced activity requiring a meditative and yet vigilant patience. It requires inspiration as well as careful, logical plans for each step. When my life was more scattered, I pieced together mosaics and quilts. These days I form metal into new shapes, experiment with etching and patinas, and ponder transformation.

My college degrees are both in writing. I have studied metal smithing at Massachusetts College of Art, the Decordova Museum School, Metalwerx, the Sturbridge Village Education Center, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. I was a bench jeweler for Chris Ploof, working with alternative metals such as meteorite, mokume gane, and Damascus steel, and currently do some work for Jade Moran, where the focus is wax casting.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Jim Moran

My dear friend and hiking partner, Jim Moran, died last Thursday night. His wife Susan and I were with him. It was a difficult death from lung cancer, and it was unbearable seeing him in so much pain. Though he had not been able to open his eyes all day, at the very last minute before he left, he opened his eyes wide, looked at Susan and repeated three sounds that were undoubtedly "I love you. I love you. I love you."

His memorial was held on Saturday. He designed it, music, speakers and all. A friend read "Do Not Go Gently," three other friends reflected on their friendship and whatever topic Jim assigned them. His brother spoke. We listened to, and in some cases sang along to, songs. A letter was read to Susan that Jim wrote for the occasion. After all of that, I had to find a voice and speak. It was really hard. Jim asked me to speak on our friendship and on sobriety. At his death he was 18 years clean and sober, and this included cigarettes. Here's what I read:

I taught writing in the early nineties, and had one student who added a real charge to the class. By opening up, he created an atmosphere of trust in the room.

He wrote an essay about storm watching on Black Rock Beach near his old apartment in Cohasset. It had the kind of carefully chosen details we were working toward, the kind that require a real presence and awareness. And he included some confessional musing about being sober that clearly took courage. I wrote in the margin of his essay that I'd shared some similarly "sobering" experiences.

We didn't care that I was the teacher, that he was 26 years older than me, that we were male and female. We just found each other, worked on creative projects, stayed sober, and started climbing mountains.

In other words, we routinely exposed our souls, stayed alive together, and were humbled by forces bigger than ourselves. It was a very powerful recipe for friendship and for life. Some of the purest moments of joy in my life have just hit me out of the blue while walking along a trail with Jim.

Jim and I helped keep each other on the path for the next 15 years. We showed up and tried to be present for spiritual, physical, and psychological hurdles, constantly arming ourselves with new tools for expression. And we supported each other unconditionally in these endeavors. New forms, new media, new people, new programs, new languages.

This support was possibly my first real understanding of the idea of unconditional love. It's astounding how many people he gave this to.

He also taught me not to bottle up positive feelings. He would be talking about how glowy the light in here is or "look at that stained glass with the little dots in it!" and then probably take up stained glass. He never seemed to take anything for granted. Jim could add celebration to your world the minute you walked in a room "Beth-a-ny!" he'd exclaim, grinning like a fool. He said I was his tracker, keeping him on trail. If I was his tracker, he was my compass.

We spent weekends, sober anniversaries, and holidays together. And one year while five miles up Mt. Carrigan in a hailstorm, we found some shelter, he had me turn away, and he surprised me with tall, strawberry shortcake with whipped cream for my birthday.

We contemplated a great number of things in cars, over coffee, and on the trail. We discussed:
Whether art might be the difference between being dissatisfied and doing something about it.
Or, if you change yourself, and you give yourself to the community as a whole through your service, whether you may indeed be changing the world.
Whether it's possible you need to have lost someone you care about to learn real compassion.
And most importantly, just what would happen if a priest, a duck, and a mouse walked into a bar . . .

Jim had attained a certain degree of self-awareness that allowed him to tap into his core and while sometimes he struggled with what he found in this well, there were also these big bubbles of mirth that rose up. We giggled together with abandon, child-like awe, and total goofiness. And I think the risk taking involved in being sober, the facing and talking about difficult things and walking through them to the other side is what allowed us this gift of humor and fun.

One time when I arrived home alone after camping in Alaska for two weeks, I played my answering machine messages and heard, "Hi Mr. and Mrs. Ericson, this is Jim Moran, a friend of Bethany's. I am so sorry Beth was eaten by that bear. I just wanted you to know that before she left she told me that if anything were to happen to her that I should have all of her camping equipment."

His humor gave him an incredible attitude during physical hardships. I remember when I took him to the pharmacy after he hurt his shoulder and he'd drawn a smiley face on the tennis ball his hand held while his arm was splinted. The tennis ball had a very funny discussion with the pharmacist about Jim's needs.

And he could even laugh in the face of cancer. I was with him on one of his earliest of many scary meetings about his prognosis. The doctor was flustered. "Hello James. I see you've brought your. . .your. . . a um, well I see you've brought a young lady with you." The doctor then explained how a person can get lung cancer 18 years after quitting, and stopped after each point and looked at me and explained the equivalent in breast cancer. We burst out laughing when he left the room.

After waiting too long in the VA clinic one day we had a loud mock fight pretending he gave me his cancer cooties. I told people he got his cancer on www.cancer.com. We arrived nervously for one of his P.E.T. scans under a sign that read Boston PET Center, and laughed our way in the door. When he told me last month that he wanted Ted and I to bring some of his ashes to Mt. Osceola, I complained that he was just trying to get us to finally carry him Up a mountain.

Jim was my role model, and he fought for life every last inch of the way. He and Susan's love for each other and the work they did to make sure each other knew it has been incredible to witness. Jim once told me about the idea that hope manifests in us as long as we have a voice in what happens to us. The fact that I am speaking in a memorial he designed, says his hope was so strong it outlived him. When he asked me to speak he told me sternly "you have five minutes." We stared silently at each other. Then we burst out laughing.

When Jim was given four months to live in July, he said he'd just live his life in four-month increments until he was in his eighties. It wasn't until a month ago that he and I had a discussion about his impending death rather than impending life. He felt that what would happen after death was that he would live on as energy in other people, slowly fading out over time.

I am forever grateful Jim walked next to me for a while. And his energy connects this whole room full of people, and many, many more. This connection is possibly one of his greatest achievements. Don't leave him here. Bring him along with you: Live every day fiercely present, with grace, honesty, and humor.

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