TEDx Salem is calling!

Excuse my absence, but I am busy rehearsing for TEDx Salem! See you in Oregon’s state capitol in January 5, 2019.

A Gentle Explanation of Water Resomation or Alkaline Hydrolysis

Melanie is a local who heard about the Green Reaper in Boring, Oregon and had questions. The first time I met her, I was outside filling my bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds. A rickety old truck pulled up and parked by the funeral home. A very short woman with black spiked hair and about 30…

Things I Have (Until Now) Privately Savored

In no perfect order…. Sharp pencils. There is nothing like a sharp pencil. I feel like I could open a book of white paper and write forever, the sharp tip of my instrument creating beautiful words and imagery. What is it they say? A dream and a sharp pencil can take you anywhere. It sounds…

The Green Reaper and Her Green Burial Guidebook

Despite the widespread attention garnered by Jessica Mitford’s 1963 exposé of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death, the American way of death still includes average funeral expenses of between $8,000 and $12,000. What’s more, every year conventional burials in the U.S. contribute 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid, containing carcinogenic formaldehyde, and tons of…

Bad Karma Caskets and Extreme Embalming: What’s New (Old) at the Funeral Home

What characterizes our current period of funeral planning? Future visitors to the funeral museum will reflect on our generation’s proclivities for personalized, eco-friendly, tech savvy, and hyper-connected options. Here are a few new (old) trends in funeral planning that are continuing to increase in popularity: Cheesecloth Burial Dress: I had someone come in and talk…

The Nicest Places in Every State

As seen in Reader’s Digest. Story by Lauren Cahn. Don’t let the name fool you—there are some really intriguing things going on in Boring. Take Elizabeth Fournier—the Green Reaper: She provides natural burial services, and she’s raising awareness about green funerals with her book, The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Know To Plan…

Ghosts love to communicate – especially with small children

My little girl was up in her loft the other day when I heard her ask someone if they could please move because they were in her way. Minutes later Sofia comes down the stairs and says that Mrs. Butler won’t stop sitting on her bed and she has already asked her nicely to move….

The Time I Crashed Joe DiMaggio’s Funeral

One perfectly sunny Thursday in San Francisco I crashed the funeral of Joe DiMaggio, the elegant Yankee Clipper. It was in invite-only service; the hubbub in the park across the street was that none of the Yankees had been invited. My location was Washington Square Park, a huge green space across Filbert Street from the twin-spired…

What do you need to know about me?

I have summited Mt Jefferson, Mt Shasta, Mt St Helens, and have stood on the top of Mount Hood a full three times. I co-founded the Labor Coalition for Environmental Responsibility when I was in college. Rather than drinking myself silly at fraternity parties, I knew early on that I actually wanted to be somebody…

I bought a hearse! Lucrezia was silver and sleek and gorgeous.

I bought a hearse the same year I became self-appointed to the Green River Killer Task Force. She was low and sleek and silver and gorgeous. I would peek between the blinds to admire her because she was so damn beautiful and all mine. I didn’t live on the safest street in Portland: two blocks…