Dwarfism Awareness Month

October is dwarfism awareness month, as declared by the Little People of America organization.  Little People of America (LPA) is a national support organization for people with dwarfism and their families. LPA provides peer, parent and medical support for the dwarfism community.

Meet Gabe.  My brother.

Handsome devil, ya?

That’s 26 years of wisdom, art, compassion, musical talent, empathy, bad decisions, good decisions, killer customer service, listening skills crammed tightly into a 4′ something frame.

Q: What is the definition of dwarfism?

A: Little People of America (LPA) defines dwarfism as a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women.

 

Did you know?

  • There are over 200 distinct forms of dwarfism.
    • The most common is achondroplasia affecting approximately one per 26,000 – 40,000 births.
    • Gabriel has Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia (CHH)
    • CHH is an extremely rare form of dwarfism, most seen in people of Finnish descent.  Outside of this population, its incidence is unknown.
  • People with dwarfism are generally not taller than 4′ 10″ at adult height. The typical height range is 2’8″ to 4’5″.

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  • 80% of people with dwarfism have average-height parents and siblings (waving).

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  • There are an estimated 30,000 people in the United States and 651,000 internationally with a type of dwarfism.
  • The word “midget” is inappropriate and offensive.
    • Preferable terms are: having dwarfism, short stature, little person, lp, and the medical terminology use of dwarf.
    • Of course calling someone by their name is always appropriate. 🙂
  • Dwarfism affects bone growth, but generally, does not affect cognitive abilities.
  • LPA hosts an annual national conference each July which draws 2500 attendees for a week of activities, including educational and medical workshops, sports, and social networking and events.

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As I previously shared via social media;

Gabe is an artist, a dreamer, a philosopher, a stellar employee, a writer, a great listener, a contemplator, deeply loyal, a musician, uniquely stylish and charismatic.

Gabriel doesn’t have dwarfism, he’s a dwarf.

Gabriel isn’t limited or different, he’s just shorter than the average height.

Gabriel doesn’t go against the “status quo” because he’s a dwarf, but rather because he’s Gabe. He’s himself and uniquely so, just as you and I are too.

Gabriel is a son, brother, friend, uncle, grandson, nephew, cousin, employee, a human being.

Gabe is wiser than his 26 years and shows his wisdom through his writings and in conversations. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to have a chat with my bro, you know just how philosophical and ingenious he really is.

Gabriel is a dwarf, but more importantly, he’s a person.

And rad as hell.

For more info on dwarfism, please visit www.lpaonline.org

 

Cheers!

Arkansas 2017 | Bikes, Blues and BBQ

Dear Arkansas,

You are stunning.

Love, Me

September 20-24th | 2017 Annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally in Fayetteville, Arkansas came and went.   And in the 10 years that Clint and I have been going on big motorcycle trips, this one wins for the most unique, challenging and entertaining of adventures.

Wednesday

We packed, we loaded, we headed out.   En route with us: Tyree, Cole and Tyree’s brother, Clint S., riding my Clint’s old bike.

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Part 1, 2 and 3:

Uneventful.

  1. St. Joe with fumes to spare for fuel and to hook up with Erika and her trusty Jeep.
  2. Harrisonville for some grub at The Garage Burgers and Brew
  3. Gas station just 90 miles out of Fayetteville for a top off of the tanks and some much-needed hydration thanks to the cool and crisp 95-degree fall weather.

Part 4:

24 miles out of Fayetteville… the true adventure began.  As we pulled away from a small connecting community I noticed we were down half of our crew.   Over the course of a handful of minutes, slow riding on a four-lane waiting for them to catch up, a mid-traffic exchange between Clint and a friendly caged passerby we found out our trio were landlocked due to a bike malfunction.   A phone call exchange once stopped at an exit ramp we came to realize that the bike Clint S. was riding was unfortunately beyond any type of repair, and in addition to that major breakdown, Clint simultaneously had a gear shifter malfunction that caused him to have to get creative with some RPM timing and shifting.   So, with nothing any of us could do but make it to our destination, our half of the crew (Clint, Tyree and I) limped into Fayetteville while the other half (Cole, Clint S. and Erika) went on their own adventure of locating a Uhaul.   I should mention that during the Uhaul hunt,  ColeMan’s engine and oil light also came on, but that took third place in the line-up of current issues adventures.  Surely just over-heated, ya?

Totally.

Fast forward several hours and the second half of the trio made it into camp with one functioning bike, one Jeep and a trusty Uhaul with the untrusty bike, John made it in from Eastern IA and Clint fixed his bike issue.  With the crew together and camp set up, we all settled in for an evening of ice cold beers, conversations, and a little hackysack.

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Nothing but smooth sailing from here on out…

Or something like that.

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Thursday

The Uhaul had to go.   Thanks to our buddy Vern, the Uhauled bike found a temporary resting place in his garage in Oklahoma, so Clint, Erika, and Coleman took off in the AM to take care of that ordeal while the rest of us went cruising the beautiful Arkansas landscape.

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We set out in a general direction and ended up landing on Devil’s Den Road.   If you are looking for a lot of curves and switchbacks, add this short 23 miler to your list of roads to find.  Bonus: a few miles outside of it we found Backwoods Beer/Goods where we stopped for a 6pack and to finalize lunch plans once back in Fayetteville.

With the entire crew back together early afternoon, it was high time they got some open road under their belt.   With Erika riding bitch with Clint and Tyree with John (her bike went to her brother since his was having a sleepover in Vern’s garage), we set out towards Devils Den Road so they could experience those curvaceous 23 miles.

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Lean with it, rock with it…

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We had to visit our friends at the trusty Backwoods One-Stop-Shop for a cold brew and a view of the landscape before deciding to head down to Dickson Street for some grub, evening entertainment and of course, more beer.

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But ColeMan’s bike had other plans for us.

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Come to find out, he wasn’t holding a charge.  A little over an hour of being side-lined, some battery swapping and fingers crossed, we made it back to camp where we hunkered down for the night and enjoyed some entertainment courtesy of the Mr. BBB’s contest and odd camper sales pushing from an equally as odd salesman.

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My fear was these weirdos tipping the camper over and us getting stuck purchasing it.  She was a pretty little penny for not being able to stand up in it.

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Friday

I’ll spare you the details of the events from the evening prior through the course of 18 hours, but there was a lot of diagnosing, replacing, tearing apart, putting back together, test runs and the like before succumbing to a motorcycle repair shop to get Cole’s bike back in running order.

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Erika’s Jeep for the win, take TWO!   While ColeMan and Tyree set out on their “bring ColeMan’s bike back to life” adventure, we set out on our own towards Pig Trail Scenic Byway.

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The view on this byway never disappoints.

We, of course, stopped at the lookout point for a few beers and photo opportunities.  What we learned from our 2016 trip is that if you want a beer at any time during your time out on the road, you must bring it with you in your saddlebags.   Bars are non-existant and convenience stores are hard to find.

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PBR girls. 

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Somewhere out there is a photo of me with some random dude at the scenic overlook.  I had wandered away from our group to take some videos of bikes coming out of a curve and he asked me to take a pic with him.   All I know is he was from Iowa, coincidentally.

So, if you find that photo roaming around out here in the interwebs, lemme know, k?

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After a short delay descending Pigs Trail due to a motorcycle accident, we landed in Ozark, AR for the #1 Rated TripAdvisor BBQ joints,  Rivertowne BBQ!

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Delicious grub.
Amazing sweet potato fries.
Sweet and savory BBQ sauces.
Big Appetites.
Belly’s full.
Bliss.

At this point, we were into the mid-afternoon and knew it was time to head back up towards Fayetteville.  The LAST place you want to be after nightfall is in the Ozark National Forest area, let alone any backroad in the depths of Arkansas.  You are just asking for it, on many fronts.

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Back at camp we reunited with the Sejhaur’s and headed on down to the famed Dickson Street.   Let’s give THREE cheers for Erika’s jeep now, shall we?

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You guys… I don’t know if I need to apologize, try to explain what is going on here, or just let you come up with your own elaborated story.   Apparently, this means #BBB17, or something.  I don’t know.

Whatever.

It’s Clint and John.

No one ever quite knows.

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Dickson was a street.   With bikes.  And Vendors.  And Bars.   And people.   We met up with some Omaha peeps (hey, Adam) before heading back to camp for the night.   The majority of the group was definitely OVER it by this point in the day.  Peace out Dickson.  Maybe we will try you again another day.   Also, can this happen when we are there next time?  I feel bad for whoever’s bike this is, but that’s legit!

Hey Progressive – I don’t see Flo helping out.

What gives?

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Saturday

Up and at ’em by 7:30, we made our great campground escape for a hot breakfast before heading up to Eureka Springs for the first half of the day.

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Beautiful backroads, quaint little Eureka Springs for beers at The CatHouse, good company, a few random stops for souveniers and a group photo before Erika packed up and headed back to Des Moines.

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Please note Clint’s facial expression.

Now note mine.

What is that?

#nerdingit

Meanwhile, is Cole trying to look like a badass, frozen in fear, or just holding one in?

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Bonus points for rocking the Pirtlefest shirt.

Take off 10 for the Husker shirt.

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What a GREAT day Saturday turned out to be.

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Mid-afternoon we headed back to camp to allow Erika to pack up her belongings to get back to Des Moines.   The rest of us headed to lunch where we inadvertently ran into Adam Sandoval and Scooter on his Mission: Thank You tour.  Click HERE to find out more.

Tyree didn’t know who he was and asked a question that perhaps gave that away.

I say she was just humbling him a little.

😉

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Saturday evening consisted of campground cleanups, cold beer drinking and lawn mower pulls for a low-key end to our adventerous Arkansas vacay.

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Sunday

Time to head home.

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What’s this series of three photos with someone pushing me back you ask?   Just adding some flare to our Sunday departure by nearly running straight into that pole you see in front of me. Listen – the sun was GLARING, I couldn’t see anything and instead of taking the sidewalk path like we had taken over the course of the last three days, I wondered why no one ever went straight.

That would be why.

And thanks to the incline behind me, I had to be pushed out by some folks standing by while the rest of our crew snapped photos and laughed at my expense.

Hey, what can I say?  Just adding to the adventures.

Wait, wait.  What is this photo about?

Like I said… Just adding to the adventures.   Mere seconds after getting assistance from my near decapitation, my front tire went down and Fix-A-Flat had to come to the rescue due to a leak in the tube.

Seriously guys.  This trip.

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Tensions were a bit high for me at this point because I had little control over the front end.   Looking back, I am thankful for my dumbass move of nearly running into a pole in the campground because I think it was during that incident that my tire went all the way down and had just been a slow leak up to that point.  I had forgotten that on Thursday ColeMan asked me if my front tire was a little low… but we dismissed it.

And so we forged on.

The Kansas City outskirts provided us a stopping point for some fuel and drink and to check the tire pressure.  All was looking good!

It was also here that Tyree and I switched riding situations and I hopped on the back with Clint, and she hopped on my bike to finish out our journey home.  She needed to stretch out after being the bitch on back for the entire vacay and I am sure she was itching to get some miles in, even it was just interstate miles.

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This provided me the opportunity to take some videos and stupid snaps of our journey home.  And check work emails.  Cuz work goes on, vacation or not.

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What a crazy adventure we had.   Hands down the most unique trip I’ve expereinced in the years we’ve been going on large motorcycle trips.   Omaha was certainly a happy sight to see with everyone accounted for and all safe and sound.

 

Cheers to #BBB17 and to the many trips yet to come.

 

 

 

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The Grand Tour | Exclusive Omaha Screening

Amazon Prime Video is taking over Omaha this weekend for a free event that I’d love to share with you.

Coffee Cruise Omaha AKA Cars and Coffee Omaha have been asked by Amazon Prime to host an exclusive viewing of Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour show THIS Saturday night, October 21st.

Already into season two of the record-breaking The Grand Tour, audiences will see presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May embarking on their most extensive Grand Tour ever, traveling through more locations than before and attempting to avoid any further mishaps and injury along the way. The trio will spend over 100 days across five continents, racking up more passport stamps from Croatia, Mozambique, Dubai, Spain, Switzerland, Colorado, New York and many more exotic locations around the world.

 

The event will be held on Saturday the 21st at HyVee on 3410 N. 156th St.   The parking lot opens at 5:30 with complimentary food and beverage for the first 400 who fill out a survey for Amazon.  The screening will be outside on a 20′ x 26′ screen with professional sound system. “Drive-In” movie style! There will be some seating provided by Amazon, but a folding chair of your own is also recommended.

Car lovers – bring your classics and cruise on over for this exclusive screening!   What a great Saturday evening event for you and your family.

 

We Grow As One: The Courtyard Ink

Feature #1 in the We Grow As One series comes from Courtyard Ink.

Courtyard Ink came to my rescue this last summer when I fell into an unfortunate predicament that left me with an order that needed to be placed ASAP.   Several frantic emails went out to local screen printing shops in the metro area and of the responses I received, Courtyard Ink stood out as the BEST possible solution for me in multiple ways:

  1.  The no-nonsense response
  2.  The politeness and eagerness to accommodate
  3.  The competitive pricing
  4.  The impressive turnaround time
  5.  The flexibility to add a few extra orders within said turnaround time
  6.  The payment structure (I didn’t have to place 100% down prior to the order being processed)
  7.  Their logo was simply badass

Brad and Steve pulled through on my order and even placed an EMERGENCY order with a 24 hour turnaround time when I had a few extras the last second.

Talk about customer service! 

These guys get it.

Courtyard Ink was established from a variety of unique circumstances: college entrepreneurship class, a buddy’s basement, a heat press, a final project and a first customer.   From 2008 to now, Courtyard Ink has seen a move from a basement to a few storefronts to where they currently reside on 1415 North Saddle Creek Road.

Courtyard Ink has built a solid reputation by simply being one of the best in the screenprinting and embroidery business.  Through word of mouth, old school networking and advertising and repeat customers, Brad and Steve have created a solid foundation to which business will continue to grow.  I am a prime example of a first time customer turned repeat.

1) They pulled through on my down to the wire order for my annual biker chick run:

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2) And in return, I went back to them for a large shirt order I needed for my program at work:

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Courtyard Ink specializes in screen-printed or embroidered apparel, so if you are in the market, I encourage you to go see them for your next order.

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You can find one or both of the guys there Monday -Thursday from 9-5 or Friday from 9-4.   They value their time with family and friends so weekends are locked tight to personal downtime.  I commend them for that decision as I strongly believe that in order to have a successful business, you have to remember to take care of yourself as well.  It’s nice to see these entrepreneurs figured that out early on.

What’s next for you and your connection with Courtyard Ink?

 

Thanks, Courtyard Ink for the stellar customer service and great product.   We look forward to seeing continued success and growth.

 

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This post is part of the We Grow As One series highlighting our community, small businesses and the people behind them.  First National Bank of Omaha is sponsoring this series of posts, but all words are mine. 

We Grow As One

I am super excited to share with you a series of posts covering some of my favorite local Omaha Metro businesses as part of the #WeGrowAsOne campaign.  Growing our economy starts with supporting our own local businesses and Omaha has quite a lot to be proud of!

Having lived in Omaha for 11 years, I find myself more and more attracted to the small, self-supported and locally grown operations and businesses.   It’s no small task to build a business.  I have seen the highs and lows that it involves having married an entrepreneur myself.

On this journey, I will be posting highlights of a few of my favorite local businesses.  I hope that at the end of this series you have grown in knowledge on the incredible entrepreneurs we have in the city of Omaha and find yourself visiting them, using their products, or at the very least seeking out local businesses in your area.

Cheers to this next adventure!

First National Bank of Omaha is sponsoring this post, but all thoughts are mine.