Happy World Down Syndrome Day_ a tribute to eternal love

It was decades ago but I still remember snippets like it was yesterday. Sitting shotgun in Oma’s station wagon, my flute case on my lap, rain misting over the car as we barreled down the back streets. Into the waterfront community we went. We drove to where the gardens are shaped like animals and everyone’s lawn is immaculate and level. Beautiful flowers peek out of the rockery used to secure the hillside to each home.

We pull into the driveway and ascend the stairs to the front door. I look behind me at the Sound, the water glistening off in the distance, a dreary dark blue grey with just a pocket of sunshine hitting the waves and glistening back at me. Stepping inside I’m hit by the smell of them. Not in a bad way, but in the way that everyone’s home smells a little bit different. I gaze up at her cases of trophies and collectibles while Oma and her chit chat. We walk down the stairs past photos of her, of him, of their son.

I don’t remember if I was ever able to meet her son. She talked about him a lot and had photos everywhere and I always left feeling her love and grief. The love made sense to me. The grief, not so much to my small self. I could not put words to it, but I could feel it’s cloudy presence over her heart.

She would walk me to her music room, help me get set up, kindly ask about my day while Oma sat to the side, or upstairs some days.

© Yiannos1

Joy would teach me about music. She would teach me about playing the flute, about proper breathing, reading music.

© Argument

© Argument

What I didn’t realize until many years later that she was also teaching me the strength to love in the face of grief. She taught me how to have an open heart, a patient mind and how “disability” is a state of mind and environment, not a reflection on someone’s soul, their heart or them at all.

She loved to talk about Davey. She loved to share his photo and tell me about what a loving a warm heart he had. Her beautiful son, Davey, was born with Down Syndrome.

Pilot with down syndrome

*not Davey, but a close stand-in

She always wanted a child. Joy and Herb had tried for many years. Joy was a former beauty queen and dedicated musician and singer. Herb was a brass man. Keen to the trumpet, her to the winds, together they would teach children to love music, to be good at music.

Then came Davey.  He grew from a baby to a toddler to a young boy. It was as he was turning into a young man that his generous heart gave out. They loved him so much, and I’m sure they grew to love him more and more each day even after his passing.

The look in her eye would be bright and shiny at first, then as her memories moved forward in time, the twinkle would dim and a veil of grief would sneak in. He was her only son and he was perfect.

Davey was a fighter who would constantly defy the odds. Growing older against doctor’s opinions. Going to school and embracing his life, he was a lover who welcomed every person he encountered with an open heart and compassion. He is an angel and an inspiration.

Joy was a mother who loved her son unconditionally. Her love for him was so great it gave her the strength to be a mentor to and love other people’s children. She tutored many dozens of kids in her years teaching music. The photos they would send her, for years even after going to college and moving away, are a testament of her work. (Any woman who can love someone else’s child as if he or she were her own, in the face of her own loss, is superwoman to me.)

What I took away from Joy and Davey was not a tale of loss, but a tale of dogged determination, hope and love. I don’t know if Joy and Herb are still around, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of them and thanking them for their love.

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day click HERE

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Mug Alert: Philosoraptor

Need a moment of RAWR in your day? Try starting off in a philosophical mood.  Just do it dinosaur style…

Munday Munchies

Most weekends Raul and I do our major grocery shopping trip of the week. We pick a couple meals we’ll want to eat in the coming days by browsing food magazines, cook books and browsing online. This past weekend we didn’t go grocery shopping. I know! It’s a travesty!

All this talk of food and my almost empty fridge this morning has my inner rex feeling extra hungry. So I thought I’d share a little collection of yummy-looking, hopefully tasty treats for our inner Rex’s that will leave you and your little rexes saying “RAWR!”

Quick Side note: When my wiggly boxer, Sadie, gets hangry, she grunts and wiggles at me. I imagine her grunting would translate into something like this…

make me a sandwich

When your little rexes get hangry and grunt at you, you can make their dinos into a sandwich.

dinosaur sandwich

And don’t stress over the shape, this sandwich cutter makes it a snap. Find it HERE.

dinobytes

Maybe this is your first real foray into dino inspired meals, so let’s start easy. Mashed potatoes, Check! Broccoli, check! Dino toy, check!

On your way to a RAWR-ific meal, you can just dip your dino’s toes in the ‘tatoes with this yummy dinner set up. Give this to your small rex when they need a little inspiration to eat and you need a low commitment meal…

Dinosaur-trees-1

Or maybe you just need a small snack, a bit of protein to tide you over. With Easter just around the corner, this would be a great week to make some edible dinosaur eggs.

dino eggs

To learn how to make these click HERE

dino eggs2

If you’re feeling really creative, or you want to throw your little rexes a curveball this Easter, try making some GIANT dinosaur eggs! These are of the Brontosaurus or T-Rex variety.

dino eggs3

SHHHH!!! They’re really Watermelons!

dino eggs4

Once you’re done with lunch, dinner and the egg hunt, don’t forget dessert! There’s always room for dessert!

First a dirty Oreo dessert…

dirt-oreo-dinos

Or host your own archeological expedition into cupcakes….

dinomuffindough

I think that about wraps up our tour of tasty T-rex treats. Is your mouth watering yet?

In case you need some assistance fully embracing the Dino Dining methods, there is a book to help… click the image to be linked to Amazon.

dinosaur book

Do you want to know how to make the dishes above yourself?Click on the photo of any dish you want the recipe for and it will link you to the original source.

Happy Munday!

RAWR & ❤

Even a Rex sometimes cries…

I cried the other day. That doesn’t sound like much of an event, especially when I have friends who cry at least once a day over what seems like trivial events to the outside world. I realized afterward that it’s been about a year since I had a really good, ugly cry. That’s a long time for someone who previously would cry at the sappiest of movies.

Leading up to my dry spell, I spent so much time crying, mourning my lost loves, that one day, I had to stop. I had to stop crying. I had to stop to survive. If I kept mourning with so many tears I would wash away my resolve to live. So I stopped crying. I put up a wall and tried to find other outlets for those emotions. Crying couldn’t be one of them.

Then the wall was punctured. A long, stressful day led me to crumble the next morning over a seemingly dumb event. It wasn’t the event that made me cry. It was the build-up of all that emotion that I tried so hard to acknowledge and let go but never really let go of. It’s the emotion that hangs onto the edge of your heart or gets stuffed into the fringes of your mind. That emotion needs out, and like water flowing downhill, it will find a way. It will leak out in the worst of places if it’s not dealt with, felt and really, truly let go.

I admitted defeat. I admitted the Universe got the best of me. I let down my walls.

Time stood still for a moment. That pesky and persistent resolve to carry on swelled up. My emotional self wanted to bash it back down.

It is in these weak moments that I think of a young woman* Oprah interviewed many years ago. Her ex-boyfriend had set her on fire and she survived but with terrible scaring. She’s had dozens of surgeries and just living is a challenge. Although she wanted to give up, her sister tells her to take 5 minutes a day to feel bad, to cry, to let down her walls. At the end of the timer, she has to stop crying and carry on.

That interview has stuck with me. That young woman was honest, vulnerable and so sad. Her strength and carry-on-ness has stuck with me.

Allowing myself a few moments to feel sad, it was soon time to stop crying and carry on.

When I looked up after drying my tears, this is what I saw.

heart in the sky

When was the last time you let down your walls? When was the last time you really felt, and then truly let go of, those bottled up emotions?

*I tried to find the story of the particular woman mentioned above, but could not find it. If I do, I’ll add it in the comments.

Mug Alert: Leash your Rex

My inner RAWR is a little too rambunctious to be allowed off-leash in public (very often). Most of the time you’ll find me wandering around my daily life looking more like I got my inner RAWR on a leash. Seeing this mug in the morning reminds me to take my RAWR out for a walk at least once a day.

leash your rex

Mug Alert: Lincoln riding a dino, yes, that’s right.

I love searching out those objects that bring a smile, a chuckle and hopefully a laugh to someone’s day. I’m terribly sarcastic and wholly inappropriate most days and only with the right people do I make any sense. Social interaction with anyone outside of my inner circle requires multiple mental filters. And yet, with all of this awesome creativity, even from the deepest depths of my comic self, I cannot come up with a good caption for this mug (that isn’t completely and wholly inappropriate).

This mug of Abraham Lincoln (yes, our former President Abraham Lincoln) riding a T-Rex is beyond words for me.

So maybe you have a better idea, dear reader, what’s your caption?

Abe riding trex

Moment of RAWR: Supermom Ninjas

This is a tribute to the Supermom. It’s Thursday. I know you’re tired. You are probably tired to the “I just put the empty paper grocery bag in the refrigerator and didn’t even realize I did it until I went to make dinner hours later” level. And yet you soldier on. In the name of love, responsibility and with a touch of the human spirit of carrying on, your actions are not lost. Someday your children will be old and will realize just how hard this all was.

I know you’re battling lost socks, single socks, dishes, the rest of the laundry, yummies, errands, work, unfinished homework, dirty diapers and poop patrols, dental appointments, dank trash, dust balls and more. It’s like you have to be part ninja or maybe just part dinosaur to get it all done and still survive. Either way, you know you can’t stop. You know the insanity of it all, doing the same chores over and over and wishing for different result. And yet you soldier on.

So for you, the Supermom, here’s your MOMENT OF RAWR.

DinosaurFunny_ninjas

 

Mug Alert: The first Om Nom Nom

My neighborhood is in the beating heart of the coffee phenomenon. I am surrounded by caffeine addicts. They are everywhere. Before 9am it’s like the streets are overrun with zombies and only the children remain normal, happy and giggling. Standing in line at one of the thousands of coffee shops leaves you recounting the list of rules from Zombieland. Then, almost like magic, there’s actually HUMANS leaving the shop, not zombies! That coffee fix is a serious thing, not one to be messed with. My beloved coffee addicts have taught me that coffee comes before words.

© Duskbabe | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images


© Duskbabe | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

I am the one in a million that doesn’t drink coffee. There’s something about it’s taste that just, well, isn’t my cup of tea. It’s mostly drinking it that repels me, but I’m not opposed to making it for my beloved coffee addicts. It’s taken a few years but I actually like making coffee now. It’s a great way to make easy friends… the zombies always smile at the person handing them a hot cup of java. It’s become an act of love.

In honor of my beloved coffee addicts, I’m starting the Mug Alert post. Now you can remind yourself and those you love to let out their inner RAWR, first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee done just right.

The OmNomNomivore

onnomnommug

Pick the Punchline

Let’s play a game… After reading through the suggested punchlines for this comic on another site, I’m a little curious what else can be thought up…

What's the Punchline?

What’s the Punchline?

Dino Munday

What’s in a Monday? I feel lucky when it’s fairly mundane but most often it is spent putting out fires. We’re talking about the fires that smoldered over the weekend and will just turn into mammoth sweeping destructive forces if you don’t deal with it right Effing now! [sigh] It is Munday indeed. So what’s a Rex to do on this most un-lucky day of the week?

Laugh a little.

Dinosaurs missed the boat

Um, there’s another boat, right?

Dinosaur sighting: The OnNomNomivore

I Love Brunch.

I love brunch SO MUCH… it makes me rawr.

Literally, I, “RAAAWWRRR” out loud because I am THAT excited for brunch.

When all else fails for dinner, I could eat brunch (which is Brinner in my home). When we travel I always want to find a good brunch spot, sitting back, relaxing and reflecting on a good/crazy/busy/lazy time usually makes for a great day. Brunch is almost like my weekly meditation, a slow meal slows me down, helps me relax before another crazy week. It helps me find and remember my gratitude’s.

Brunch at Campagne

Croque-Madame at Cafe Campagne

Finding Toast

I love finding French Toast that is thick and eggy, frenched and toasted to “just right.” Thick slices are key. I especially love a Brioche French Toast. In Seattle I can count on  Bastille to handle the french toast with respect.

I LUV finding waffles, the good ones anyway. I’m talking about the waffles that are thick and puffy, and round is always more fun. The most glorious waffle in all my years of searching was at Pomegranate. It was perfectly cooked to a soft and chewy inside with just enough crunch to satisfy and topped with house-made whipped cream and fresh summer berries. It was so good they haven’t ever repeated it, but they come close enough to still get my top spot.

I’m looking for the pancakes that give what’s on your plate the deserved name of “cake”, waiting to be devoured. Throw some fresh berries in the batter and you got pan-an-cakes in all their antioxidant-al glory. The summer outdoor patio is primo seating during the kinder weathered months and the Huckleberry pancakes are not to be missed at the Barking Frog.

I’m not above a quick sandwich either.  Some mornings (or afternoons) I just don’t have the patience to sit and wait for brunch to come to me. Some mornings, the hangry ones anyway, direct me to the nearest goodness available. In Portland, that place is the Grand Central Bakery’s Cafe. I love brunch so much I already opined upon their biscuit-egg sandwiches previously, in The Only Biscuits Worth a RAWR.

We’ll leave eggs for another day. I love eggs, but that’s exactly why it’s a post for another day.

All this talk of brunch and yummies had me wondering…What type of dinosaur am I?

It seems everyone has their favorite brunch meal and almost everyone is different. Some friends love a good vegan or vegetarian meal. Some of my friends scoff at anything without bacon. Some of my friends can eat a little of everything. Me? I’m all about the nomnomnom.

Call me, the Omnomnomivore.

DinosaurFunny-onnomnomivore

When your RAWR goes silent, Part 1

A slight rustling in the grass as just a few blades shift, sounding like the wind. Without noise, without fanfare, it slithers into your midst unbeknownst to you. Slowly it winds around you, surrounding you with the cloak of normalcy. Then it starts to squeeze. With growing force, it closes in on your world, it’s grip starts to tighten. It’s presence clouds your mind and darkens your heart. Slowly, like a constant leaking drip, it leaches your passion and motivation. It smothers your love. It fills your perspective with tears and hisses at positive thoughts. Slowly strangling your happiness, the snake of depression takes over your life, squeezing out the ‘real’ you. Quietly, depression strangles your RAWR into silence.
freeimage-5276288
Depression is a complicated and fickle creature. Moving into your consciousness with the stealth of a snake, depression can quickly devour and consume a seemingly healthy, happy person. What makes it harder to catch and eradicate is that depression can come at you from many directions.

Part 1: The physical snake : Lack of sunshine

Depression from lack of sun
My first bout with depression was the year my family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. I was 7 and had spent my entire life in sunny states when the military called us to the great white North. We arrived in the summer during the long days when the sun barely drops below the horizon. With amazing speed, the sun disappeared, plunging us into perpetual darkness. It wasn’t long before my little self felt the effects of no sun. My emotional stability turned into quicksand. I slept more than usual. I also learned the bad habit of emotional eating to feel better. At the time, the technology wasn’t there to support Vitamin D deficiencies and what is now known as SAD. Recognizing the changes in all of us, my mom would diligently fill up spray bottles (yes, mine was magenta) with food colored water, bundle us up and send us outside to art up the yard until it got dark.

(Tip: do not fill spray water bottles with yellow water. You’ll wonder forever which was the kids vs. the dog.)

Life without the sun is no joke. There are people on this earth who can tolerate it better, but only with the right diet and genetics. However, we all need sunshine to hit our eyeballs every day. The sun is a key component to the music of our DNA and controls many metabolic functions, including queing in our serotonin and melatonin. Without those cues to our system, our body won’t function properly. We’ll feel “off”, more tired, more hungry, more irritable. That’s the start. Too long without enough sunshine and we break down.

Sunshine on Guemes Island
There are many therapies designed to help combat those effects and employed with great force in the darker regions of the world. Happy lights, tanning beds, vitamin D supplements, gyms and more are available to combat the lack of sunshine. One simple therapy shared by Deborah Burnett is to have a bright, blue kitchen that you spend time in every morning between 9-11am. The key here is the light bulbs should have a higher Kelvin temperature range and so their light is bluer/ whiter. Cool White is often a key to the higher spectrum.

My other favorite anti-dote is one my mom knew instinctively: exercise. Exercise releases serotonin, endorphins and other “feel good” hormones. When done at the right time of day (before 3pm), exercise can reduce the impact of depression. Breaking a sweat helps to release all of your internal “piss and vinegar” as Raul likes to say, not only boosting your body but also your mind.

If you recognize yourself in any of the above, we encourage you to speak with a health professional. There are many resources out there to help you cope with and overcome depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder and Vitamin D deficiencies exist and there are tools out there to help you. Keep trying them until one clicks for you.

RAWR & ❤

Because it’s Friday, rawr.

I’ma turn you into a dinosaur today. You know why? Because it’s Friday.

fridaynosaur

Shake it Up

Today is a dreary Thursday. It’s raining. I suppose that should not be a surprise as I live near Seattle where it rains 366 days a year. Yes, 366 days a year, at least in my mind.

What I’ve always found interesting on observation, since I was a wee rex, was how many different modes of movement exist that enable rain to hit my head. And FYI, don’t use an umbrella around here. We all know you’re a tourist or an idiot. When the rain hits, you just buckle down and push through, like a woman birthing without drugs. Woman up and put your umbrella down, or the wind will do it for you.

Oh, Marie, rain is not THAT big of a deal, right?

I know it may not seem like an annoyance and worth getting all up-in-RAWRS about because there are a lot of places that would like a good rain once in awhile. I am very grateful for all the moisture we get. It is the reason we are the Evergreen state and one of the most lush, green places (west of the Cascades) with a Gen-u-ine Rain Forest. I love all the greenery, really, I do! It’s just hard to enjoy it when it feels like the sky is peeing on you all the time. To understand my relationship with rain, study the image below for a moment.

That is how I feel in the rain. So now I’m going to have my moment and wish for the sun and RAWR about how annoying rain can be.

The most Annoying types of Rain I’ve Observed:

The monsoon down pour where the 1.5 seconds it takes you to get to the car door has you and everyone and thing with you drenched to the core. That only happens a couple days a year here. (God bless those living in real monsoons.)

The spring shower, where you look up and see blue sky above you, and yet, somehow, it IS raining on your head. It’s also the third time today this has happened.

The unrelenting rain, where it’s a steady patter, a lighter droplet, enough wetness to cause the dogs to go on a bathroom strike which is too bad for them because it can last for HOURS and sometimes days. Usually the rain wins and the dogs give in. They feel like the lion too.

The mist, a gentle, all encompassing cloud of misty humidity that upon touching curly hair magically turns it into a ‘fro no matter what chemicals were used prior to exposure to said mist.

The sideways mist, a strange cloud of mist moving past you with a ghost-like appearance. It will stop you in your tracks with mesmerizing movements until the cloud of ballet makes sense, “Oh, it IS raining sideways!” Curly hair is no match for this mist either.

Too many encounters with the rain styles above and you may be left feeling like this…

JimBentonComic-DinosaurShakeUp

So on this dreary day, join me in telling the weather to be kind. We all need a break sometime, or we may turn into dinosaurs and… well, you know.

Mental Check

It seems so obvious to me what my flaws are. They glare at me every time I’m faced with them. I don’t like them and don’t like it when those anxieties creep up into my daily awareness. Releasing that track of mean from it’s power is an on-going struggle, at least for now. So I appreciate when my perspective is shifted and those insecurities become visible and burn up in the light of my consciousness, at least for now. The next time I’m finding myself jealous of someone else’s circumstances, I’ll remember this poor Rex.

dinopenisenvy

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