and the Beatles sing

“They say it’s your birthday… Happy birthday to you!”

Happy birthday, sweet Ruby. Happy birthday, my dear Munchkin! I hope your friends know that I did not forget your birthday. As you know, your mama is a dino-techie and I could not access this blog yesterday (turns out there is both a .com and .org for wordpress, who knew?). Better luck today, I hope! I know that you would never have been late with birthday greetings. I also know that you have never been surprised, probably disappointed, but never surprised, when I am late. And so, on we go.

Ruby was always the best at remembering birthdays, anniversaries, anything special for all of her friends and family. One year her Dad and I received a special ‘card’ in the mail. She was sending us joy for our anniversary… but, she was at the airport when she realized she had been lost in time. So she made us a card on a piece of paper, complete with cute cartoons expressing her love for us. I still have and treasure that bit of paper. Thank you, Ruby!

Munchkin was very kind and considerate. One year I took her and a friend to see her all time favorite band, Everclear, at Washington State University. We spent the night with a dear friend of ours. Sherri told me that Ruby had made the bed… and put a note with a chocolate mint on the pillow before she left. We both were amazed and touched. Such a lovely thought! Such a lovely heart!

Everclear was her top band forever. They are from Portland, so there was plenty of opportunity for her to see them. Her oldest friends are her Everclear buddies. She went to so many shows, small venues, the band all knew her. She had tickets in her purse to see them again… that show, they dedicated a song to her and one of their friends that they had recently lost to suicide. George brought me the song list.

Her suicide was a shock to us all. We knew she was bipolar. But we did not really understand what that meant. She always presented her beautiful smile. If she couldn’t do that, she did not come see us. She hid it very well. She was working so hard to get better. She had started taking medications… and what a roller coaster that is! When she was finally ironing it out, her health insurance changed and she could not afford the $ 600 per month for one of those meds, let alone the rest. Ruby went to AA and was three years sober! She went to therapists and exercised. She was doing everything right. She was working so hard to get better. Neither she nor her therapists knew about the support group for people with bipolar disorder. The name says it all: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, or DBSA. Some of you may have generously given them donations when Ruby died. Thank you for your kindness! If they are in Seattle, they may be in your local community. I hope that if you know anyone who, like Ruby, can use some more help, please send them this way. It may be just what they are looking for.

Speaking of looking… so many of you have seen signs from Ruby in the world around you. So much joy for you and me! I thank you for sharing them. Every so once in a while, the bar on my phone will light up with suggestions, and there it will be: ‘Ruby’ ‘RUBY’ ‘Ruby’. And I say, “Hi! I love you, too!”

Post Script: looks like a photo is more than I can figure out this time around… gonna press ‘publish’. Cross your fingers!


Magical 33

Sorry… no photo this year… I keep losing my entire post when I try to add it! I am so bad at this tech stuff!

It has been four years since our sweet Ruby left us. Yet I feel her presence every day. She was so full of life and love, joy and compassion… and despair. I treasure the memory of her brilliant smile and the way her face would literally light up… a real spark from inside that would shine out! She was truly made of star stuff! Pure joy!

Today my Munchkin would have been thirtythree, a magical number, double threes. How i would love to be spending this day with her! We would start the day with Eggs Benedict, an incredibly rich feast she researched and cooked for Mother’s Day one year… fantastic! We would sit back and enjoy our coffee and and conversation… all morning. The afternoon would be spent shopping, including looking at jewelry, textbooks, and kitchen gadgets. Next, a nice dinner in a Thai restaurant. Then home for the part of the day we’ve been waiting for.

The best part of the day… the Fire. Ruby was raised in a house with a fire pit in the back yard. Fires have been a big part of all our celebrations and we have spent many enjoyable hours with family and friends sharing so much of our hopes and dreams round the Fire. I know that one of her favorite smells was that of the pit smoke on her clothes! No doubt, that smell triggered many memories of hanging around the fire… And so, we would end today with a birthday cake with 33 candles, small flames in her honor, and a glorious fire in the pit! We would get lost in the flames… and then the coals and embers… we would talk and laugh the night away… Wishing you a most wonderful birthday!

Oh, Munchkin, I love you so much and miss you always!


Birthday Time

Ruby's B-Day Picture-smaller

Happy Birthday, sweet Ruby! You would have turned 32 today… The family is getting together tonight for food and a fire. You surely did love to sit by the fire! Nothing fancy – hot dogs, deviled eggs, potato salad, and of course, Smores. Like many families, our celebrations center around food.

This photo of Ruby is from one of my own birthdays. I had requested rice krispie treats instead of cake. And, WOW! Such a spectacular presentation! And they were quite a yummy treat! Thank you, my sweet Munchkin!

Every time I am using my big old mixer, I see my little four year old daughter… She is standing close beside me with fear on her face… as I put my spatula into my whirling batter. “Mom! You could get caught in there!” I never did it again…. but I surely caught a precious memory of her caring and love for me. Sweet Munchkin! Dearest Ruby!

As I look through my recipe box, I am constantly running across recipes from family and friends. A good reconnection for me. Of course there are many in my Treasure Box that my Munchkin shared! A few from her youth, but mostly ones she created herself when she went out on her own. She had an amazing palette, a great curiosity, and a talent for putting it all together!

In high school she had many vegan friends. A step beyond our own vegetarianism. She found this wonderful recipe for chocolate chip cookies… She probably baked them a hundred times! You may have been the lucky recipient of one of her gifts! Once she persuaded me to take her to Vancouver, BC. Her favorite band, The Phenomenauts, was playing a show and she wanted to take them some of her cookies. So she baked them up and off we went. They were delighted!

After Ruby moved to Portland to go to college, she really got serious about cooking for herself. And fell in love with homemade tortillas! You know, you can put anything on them! Thanks to U-tube, she figured out those little tasties!

After Ruby married Mason she was even more inspired! Having someone to share the simple rituals of a good meal is a wonderfully, wonder filled, motivation! She became quite adept. This is when she created the meatloaf and yummy grub sauce. Yummy!

Ruby love, love, loved to eat with her hands! She told me she should learn how to cook Ethiopian food. The wonderful bread and dipping sauces enticed her!

I can see her enjoying a good meal, grinning from ear to ear. We all loved her beautiful smile! She always brushed her teeth after she ate. Having braces for many years when she was young gave her a real appreciation for good oral hygiene. Once she bonded with a new friend over a discussion of the best dental floss. Oh, Ruby!

Like all of you, I think about her every day. I had a dream recently where she and I were getting dressed for a celebration. She was wearing sparkly purple and laughing and carrying on so! I treasure the sound of her laughter! My sweet Ruby, wherever you are, I am holding you close in my heart and sending love, love, love! Peace and joy!