Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Final Addendum

Ok, so I know I said the last post would be the final one, but I did get some info today that I would like to share with those who have been following the blog.  I received notice that this years Brain Tumor Walk will be dedicated to Jen along with one other woman who sadly lost her battle as well.  This is nothing that I had sought out, but the founder of the walk learned of Jen's passing from the story I posted for the walk.  Jen and I had spoken with her on several occasions before we walked last time as well as meeting her at the walk and she remembered Jen fondly.  Jen's name will appear on the shirts that will be given out to the participants at this year's walk.  She also shared a link to a promotional video for the walk that was done in which Jen can be seen prominently on several occasions.  Below is a link to the video.

Again, for those who may still wish to either walk or donate, please follow the link below:

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A Final Post

This will be my last post to this blog.  I first want to thank everyone who came to Jen's memorial party.  It meant a lot to me to be able to honor Jen's final wishes and I appreciate everyone who attended.

Although this will be the final post, I will keep the blog live for those who ever wish to revisit it.  It really is a timeline of Jen's last several years full of wonderful photos, memories, and heartache as well.  I would also like to thank again everyone who helped out over the years.  We were blessed to have so many amazing friends who were there for us again and again.  I also wish to send a special thank you to my parents who have been there for us in so many ways over the last several years.  Lastly I would like to thank those of you who followed this blog over the years, sharing in our journey.  I wish I had never had cause to start this blog, but I believe it has helped me a little as well.  I mourn for Jen every day, but I am grateful that we got to share our lives together.

Lastly, I will be walking again this year to raise money for brain cancer on Sunday, November 17.  Two years ago Jen organized a team (Jen's Walking Warriors) to walk in this event and raise money for brain cancer research.  I have kept the team name and wish to make it an annual tradition.  I hope we can gather a large group together in the LA area to walk in Jen's memory.  For those who cannot participate directly please donate if you can.  The money raised for this event goes directly towards research and the money our team raises goes specifically to UCLA, which was Jen's primary treatment facility.  Hopefully together we can contribute in a small way to helping eradicate this disease so no one else has to suffer from it.  Anyone who would like to participate by either joining me for the walk or making a donation, please follow the link below.

As this is the final post, anyone who cannot participate or contribute this year, but may wish to do so in future years please email me at so that I can compile a list to get the word out in future years.  I have also set up a facebook group for Jens Walking Warriors.  You can access it through Jen's Facebook.  Just send a message to her account that you would like to be part of this group and I will add you.

Jen's Walking Warriors - 2017

Saturday, August 24, 2019

One week until Jen's memorial party

Another reminder that Jen's memorial party is 1 week away on what would have been her 50th birthday.  It is this upcoming Saturday, August 31 at our house from 6 pm till whenever.  For anyone who has not done so, I would appreciate a quick RSVP as to whether you can attend or not.  You can follow the link below and let me know your status.

Again, I have set up an email account for anyone who needs more info or my address.  The email is  Please feel free to email or call me if you wish to help out or just need more info.  As I am sure to get a lot of spam on a publicly posted email, please identify yourself so I will know to respond.

About a week and a half ago, I journeyed up north to scatter Jen's ashes near the giant sequoias per her wishes.  I did this on what would have been our 32nd anniversary of meeting.  Some day when I pass, I will have my ashes scattered in the same place.  I love you Jen.

At Jen's memorial service, I mentioned that I had recently come across a valentine card she had made for me many years ago in which she listed 100 things she loved about me.  In the spirit of having a party to celebrate Jen, I wish to post my own list of 100 things I love about Jen.  Although, I know Jen knew how much I loved her, I wish I had taken the time to do it while she was alive.  She would have appreciated it.  If anyone else wishes to share something they loved about Jen, please feel free to do so by commenting on this blog entry or forwarding your comment to me and I will post it for you.  I cannot explain how much I miss you Jen.  I hope the party will be the sendoff you would have wished for.

On our wedding day!

And now for 100 things I love about Jen.

  1. Jen’s smile.  She was always self conscious about it and felt she had a crooked smile and should have had braces as a kid.  I didn’t care.  I loved every time she smiled.
  2. Our shared history.  Jen and I were from the same hometown.  Even though we didn’t meet until after we were both out of high school, we knew and had many of the same teachers.  We knew many of the same people from our area (Jen would often know the younger brother or sister of a sibling I knew).  We knew of the same hangouts and hotspots in our town.
  3. Watching Jen dance.  As I have mentioned before the first night I met Jen was at a dance.
  4. Dancing with Jen.
  5. Jen’s beautiful blue eyes.
  6. Jen’s sense of humor.  Jen really did see the humor in so many things from the subtle and wry to the silly and groan worthy.
  7. Jen’s laugh.
  8. Jen’s kindness.
  9. Jen’s honesty.
  10. Jen’s love and appreciation for all kinds of music.
  11. Our shared love for live music.
  12. Jen’s love of film.  She always loved movies, but over the years my love of cinema rubbed off on Jen and she really grew to appreciate all kinds of movies from art films to popcorn films.
  13. Her love of animals.
  14. Her accepting of not having pets due to my asthma.
  15. Our shared love for travel.  We didn’t do anywhere near enough of this, but always something we loved doing together whenever we got a chance.
  16. Road tripping with Jen.  There was no one better to share a long car ride with while traveling.  She made the journey just as enjoyable as the destination.
  17. Our shared love of camping.
  18. Hiking together
  19. Her love for her parents
  20. That she really truly loved my parents.
  21. Jen’s thoughtfulness.  She was always thinking of others.
  22. That she put up with me.  (Not an easy task)
  23. Jen’s love of reading.
  24. Jen’s love of writing.  She used to write a lot more when we first met.  She would always show me stuff she was working on.  She was a great help with my writing as well.  She mostly got away from it until she got sick, although she did make progress towards a camping cookbook she worked on.  After getting sick, I was glad to see her rekindle this passion.
  25. Jen’s cooking.  She was an amazing cook and it was something she truly loved to do and got excited about.  I enjoyed cooking with her often and obviously was lucky to be able to enjoy her food.
  26. Jen’s sense of fairness.
  27. Jen’s sense of adventure.  When we traveled we liked to try new things: kayaking, white water rafting, zip lining, snorkeling, horseback riding.  We loved taking remote hikes to get to some unique destination or getting up before the crack of dawn to undertake some photo excursion at sunrise.
  28. Jen’s appreciativeness.  She really loved even the simplest gestures or gifts.  She was grateful for the life we had, even though we never had a lot of money.
  29. That Jen was not in any way materialistic.
  30. That she preferred experiences and people over things.
  31. Jen’s curiosity.
  32. Jen’s love of learning.  This is something she always had and never lost.
  33. Sitting around a campfire together.  Loved this every time we did it.
  34. Our conversations.  In over 31 years of being together, we never got tired of talking with each other and never ran out of things to talk about.
  35. That there was never really an awkward moment between us.
  36. That she called me on my bullshit or on things when she felt I was in the wrong.  She was also good at doing this in a way that didn’t put me on the defensive so that I was truly able to hear her.
  37. She made me a better person.
  38. She cared about the broader world and not just her immediate surroundings.
  39. Jen was always open to trying new things.
  40. Jen’s love of gardening.
  41. Jen’s work ethic.  Jen was never afraid of hard work and always cared about the job she was doing.
  42. Taking on projects together.  I loved working side by side with Jen.  Whether it was making a film, fixing up our house, or organizing a wedding or a music party.  I loved when we took on a task together.
  43. Not afraid to break a nail.  Jen didn’t mind getting dirty or tackling tough projects together.
  44. We always resolved our disagreements.  We didn’t fight often, but when we did, we both always made a conscious effort to squash it quickly and hear each other out.  I know its cliché – but we promised each other early on to never go to bed angry with each other and held to it.
  45. Holding hands.
  46. Kissing each other.
  47. Just being affectionate with each other.  … (I’ll keep this G rated)
  48. Our shared love of skiing.
  49. Our shared love of watching astronomical events.  We loved to go to dark skies and watch meteor showers.  We must have seen dozens over the years.  We went to an observatory to watch when Shoemaker Levy impacted with the surface of Jupiter, we would observe eclipses, blood moons, and on a couple of occasions, comets.  We appreciated the wonder and the perspective it gave us.
  50. Jen’s sense of childlike wonder.
  51. Jen’s sweetness.
  52. Jen made me happy.
  53. Jen’s tenacity.  She was not a quitter.
  54. Her perfectionism.  Fortunately something we shared otherwise it might have been an annoyance, but instead I always understood and appreciated her unrelenting pursuit of getting something right.
  55. Jen was a patient student.  She would sometimes get frustrated, but she never gave up even when I taught her how to ski (in icy conditions) or drive a stick.
  56. Jen was a patient teacher.  She would take her time and was always helpful when teaching me things like cooking or gardening.
  57. Our shared taste in things.  We agreed on so much when it came to choosing what to do or how to paint our house or design our wedding.  We really had similar sensibilities in so many things.
  58. Jen was never stuck up.
  59. Jen’s love of other people.
  60. Jen’s friends.  We had many mutual friends, but whenever I would meet one of Jen’s work friends or someone else she had met, I could always see what Jen saw in them.
  61. Hanging out with friends together.  We both loved sharing our time and lives with our friends.
  62. The way Jen would look at me.
  63. We truly were partners.  I always felt that we had common goals and a shared sense of purpose.
  64. Jen was my best friend.  There was no one else I would rather spend time with.
  65. That we were always comfortable with each other.  Even if that just meant sitting together quietly.
  66. How she faced her cancer diagnosis.
  67. Jen’s fighting spirit.  She always had a little rebellion in her, from being a punk as a kid to the way she took on her cancer.  I loved her feistiness and grit.
  68. That she took it upon herself to prepare a 30 minute presentation on her cancer after she got sick in order to educate others.
  69. After Jen got sick, she wanted to learn as much as she could.  We attended the Brain Tumor conferences together every year to become as educated as possible about Jen’s condition.  We would discuss a lot of the research I did as well as any treatment options we were looking at.  She faced the disease head on.
  70. Jen’s strong will.  I don’t believe I or many others would have had the will to do some of the things that she did in trying to fight her cancer.
  71. Jen’s love of life.
  72. That one of the reasons she fought so hard was for me.  She was worried about how I would be after she was gone.
  73. That Jen wanted to walk to raise money for brain cancer.
  74. How she faced death.
  75. That she donated her brain to science to help others.
  76. Jen made my life worth living.
  77. How Jen would truly get excited by things.  Whether it was something grand or as simple as a butterfly visiting a flower in the yard.
  78. Jen wasn’t shallow.
  79. Jen was a great caregiver.  When I would get sick, Jen really did everything she could to take care of me.  When I was really sick, she would even make me homemade chicken soup.
  80. Jen was a great patient.  When Jen got truly sick, she made my job as a caregiver about as easy as someone going through what she had to deal with could have.
  81. Jen wasn’t a complainer.
  82. Doing the music parties together.
  83. That she would do things even if they weren’t her thing if she knew they would make me happy.  She would sometimes go with me to a movie, even if she wasn't interested in it, just to be with me.  She took me to Bruce Springsteen many years ago for a birthday present, even though she didn’t like him.  (Although, after seeing him live she did a 180 and grew to love him).
  84. Jen’s love for nature.
  85. Jen’s birding hobby that she developed after moving into our house.  She loved planting things that would draw them, feeding them, maintaining the bird baths, and identifying the different ones that would come visit.
  86. Jen’s geekiness.  She loved birding, gardening, star watching, & playing games.
  87. The way we supported each other.  Whether it was professional or personal, I always felt Jen had my back and I always tried to have hers.
  88. Our shared love of wine.  We always enjoyed it, but really got into it about 12 years ago.
  89. The fact that Jen loved whiskey.
  90. That we both loved the Redskins.  I loved watching a football game with Jen, especially when the Redskins were winning (a rarity of late).
  91. That she loved entertaining and hosting.  Whether it was our Oscar party, Music party, a dinner party, or just having people over, Jen loved any chance to entertain and make sure that everyone was taken care of.
  92. That Jen kept things real.  She didn’t beat around the bush, bullshit, or act phony.
  93. That Jen didn’t hold grudges.
  94. That Jen knew when to give me space and when I needed a hug.
  95. That she couldn’t wait to get home from work just to see me.
  96. Just being with her.
  97. That Jen agreed to marry me.
  98. Jen truly was my soul mate.
  99. Our life together.  I'm glad I got to share most of Jen's life with her. I wish we could have had many more years together.
  100. That I know without the slightest doubt that Jen truly loved me as much as I love her.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Jen's memorial party is less than 2 weeks away

Another reminder about Jen's memorial party on Saturday, August 31st at 6pm.  As I am not sure how many may be coming I have created an invite for people to RSVP.  Just follow the link below and let me know if you will be attending and how many will be coming.

Again, I have set up an email account for anyone who needs more info or my address.  The email is  Please feel free to email or call me if you wish to help out or just need more info.  As I am sure to get a lot of spam on a publicly posted email, please identify yourself so I will know to respond.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

3 weeks till Jen's memorial party

Jen in party mode!
Just another reminder about Jen's memorial party.  It is in just under 3 weeks on Saturday, August 31st (Jen's actual Birthday) and will begin around 6 pm and go until whenever.  This party is for Jen!  Again this was part of her wishes.  It is a chance for those that loved her to be able to come together and celebrate her life.  I welcome all who knew Jen and would like to come.  The party will be at our house.  Please spread the word.  I also posted a notice on Jen's Facebook account.  I have set up an email account for anyone who needs more info or my address.  The email is  Please feel free to email or call me if you wish to help out or just need more info.  As I am sure to get a lot of spam on a publicly posted email, please identify yourself so I will know to respond.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Party for Jen reminder

Jen during a birthday party for her before she got sick.  She loved
Maryland Blue Crabs & I had these flown in for the occasion.
Happier Times!
I just wanted to remind everyone that the party for Jen is less than 2 months away.  It will be on Saturday, August 31st (Jen's actual Birthday) and will begin around 6 pm and go until whenever.  This party is for Jen!  This is part of her wishes.  The memorial was really for everyone else, but Jen wanted a party for those that loved her to be able to come together and celebrate her life.  I welcome all who knew Jen and would like to come.  I know there will most likely even be some out of town guests.  The party will be at our house.  Please spread the word as everyone may not still be following the blog.  As this is a public blog, I have set up an email account for anyone who needs more info or my address.  The email is  Please feel free to email or call me if you wish to help out or just need more info.  As I am sure to get a lot of spam on a publicly posted email, please identify yourself so I will know to respond.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Jen's Memorial Service

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to complete this post.

First, I wish to remind everyone that Jen's wish was for a giant party to celebrate her life.  This will be on Saturday, August 31 of this year.  It is Jen's birthday and I wish to extend an invitation to anyone who knew Jen and would like to be there.  It will most likely be at our house, but I will post details on this blog as the date gets closer.  As there may only be a few posts between now and then, I encourage anyone who has not done so to subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the section titled "Follow Updates by Email" on the right side when viewing on a computer.  When viewing on a smartphone you will have to view as a desktop site in order to see where to subscribe.  Between now and the party, I will most likely take a trip up north near the Sequoias to where Jen wanted her ashes scattered.

Thanks again to everyone who attended Jen's memorial service and to everyone who chose to speak.  I especially want to thank those who helped with the organization and arrangements.  Thank you to Tom for the eulogy and for managing the ceremony itself.  Thank you to Kathy for helping to organize the day, helping to secure the permit, and arrange all the details of the event itself.  Thank you to John for help with the design and printing of the giant photo boards on display as well as the seed cards done in Jen's memory.  Thank you to Rich for printing Jen's poems, handling flower arrangements, and catering so much food.  Thank you to Lisa for learning and playing one of the songs that Jen requested to be played at her memorial.  Lastly, thank you to everyone else (too many to name) who helped out, from arriving early to help set up, gluing the seed hearts onto the cards, bringing food or equipment, chairs, etc.

The park where the memorial was held was a place Jen & I frequently went to hike along the Canyon Trail.  It is currently closed due to fires they had about a year and a half ago.  Hopefully it will reopen soon.  Once it does, I would encourage anyone to take a walk there and think of Jen.  The trail is a fairly easy hike and it winds through a lot of wooded area.

At the memorial, I had hoped to say a few words about Jen, but after reading a few things she had written, I became to choked up to really continue.  I wish to take a moment now.

I can't begin to express the loss I feel.  Jen was my life.  Since we met, there was no one I would rather spend time with.  I've never felt so in sync with anyone like I did with Jen.  We first connected on a dance floor and watching Jen dance was always something that brought joy to my heart.  I loved the way she felt the music.  Jen approached life in much the same way.  She felt it's rhythms, embraced all it had to offer, and tried to exist in the moment.  She was always open minded and eager to explore.  She had such a depth and breadth of tastes.  She always had a passion for music and it formed one of our earliest bonds.  She was a drummer in a rock band when she was in high school.  Jen was always open to new music and she equally enjoyed everything from Bach to Snoop Dog to Neil Young to Johnny Cash to Radiohead to the Sex Pistols to Nick Cave.  She was like that with Movies too.  Jen would enjoy watching Star Wars, a Bergman or Felini Film, an old silent film, or be equally at home watching South Park.  Jen had a special fondness for horror films - her favorite genre.

Anyone that knew Jen, knew that she had a passion for the outdoors.  Jen loved to garden, camp, & hike.  We used to try to hike at least once a week, weather permitting.  We enjoyed getting outdoors together, but mostly enjoyed the time to decompress and most importantly have uninterrupted time with each other to just talk.  After moving to our house, Jen told me that it was the first place she had ever lived where she felt she was truly home.  She loved the southwest and was happy with finally owning a small piece of land that she could care for.  She planted all kinds of native plants specifically to attract the birds and butterflies.  She would geek out every time she saw some new species of bird in our yard that she hadn't seen before.  She loved having her morning coffee while sitting on a bench in our yard, watching the birds, and reading a good book.  She even trained a family of Blue Jays living nearby to take peanuts from her hand.  I still regularly feed them myself to this day.

Jen loved literature - she was an English major after all.  She always had a book she was excited about.  She would always read passages to me that particularly struck her.  She really was in love with the way language could express a thought or emotion in an eloquent or unique way.  She loved to write poetry as well, something she did a lot of when she was younger and then got away from.  After getting sick, Jen revived her interest in writing again.  And even though it was more challenging and often frustrating, it was something that she greatly enjoyed.

And of course, Jen loved to cook.  She was an amazing cook and I was the fortunate beneficiary of her constant desire to try out some new recipe.  She could look at an almost empty fridge and concoct something incredible.  She loved to grow her own fresh herbs for cooking which of course tied into her love of gardening - something she used to do with her Mom.  About a dozen years ago, Jen and I both developed a love for wine.  This was an extension of her culinary journey.  But, Jen didn't just enjoy drinking wine, she loved the fact that it is essentially a product of farming.  She loved how the same grape could taste so different depending on where it was grown.  She loved the entire wine making process and really educated herself about the history and culture.  We had hoped to someday go to France and Italy to go wine-tasting.  Although we never got to go, Jen did at least manage to make it to Italy once on her own for a work trip.  Jen had a love of learning.  She was always wanting to discover or master some new thing.  She had a strong work ethic and always looked forward to a new challenge or project.  She really enjoyed working and loved the people that she got to work with.

Jen was always thinking of others.  She loved to host and always wanted to make sure everyone felt welcome in her home.  We both enjoyed nothing more than gathering with friends, listening to music, drinking good wine, and sitting around a fire.  Even after getting sick, Jen was always concerned about how her sickness affected me.  Jen had a great sense of humor, sometimes subtle and dry, but she also loved a good (bad) pun.  Jen embraced happiness whenever she could, even when things were less than ideal.

When Jen got sick, her true warrior spirit rose to the top.  She had so much fight in her and was willing to try things that most would not.  She was an inspiration to me and I am so glad that I could be there to help her through it all.  Taking care of Jen will probably be the most important and rewarding thing I ever do with my life.  There is nothing I wouldn't have done for Jen.

Jen was my best friend, my partner, and I know I'm biased, but she was the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  Jen had a smile that could light up a room.  The world is an emptier place without her in it.  I miss her beyond what words can express.  I will love you forever Jen.

Below are photos from the event as well as a video taken of the ceremony for those who were unable to attend and wish to watch.

Daffodils were Jen's favorite flower

One of 6 large photos displayed throughout the space

A photo of Jen hiking at the park we gathered in

Detail from 1 of 2 montage placards we displayed - Each has about
100 photos taken from throughout Jen's life.  If you click on it you will
be able to see more detail.

Detail from 2 of 2 montage placards.

Gardenias were Jen's mom's favorite flower

This is the seed cards that were given out in Jen's memory.

This was the cover of the booklet given out with Jen's poems in it.
For those that didn't get one, I will have more available at Jen's party.
All the poems included were previously published on this blog in
August of 2018 if you wish to read them.