In contrast to stories of people forced to leave their pets when New Orleans was swamped by Hurricane Katrina, the motto during one of the largest evacuations in Colorado history was “No pets left behind,” said Skye Robinson, a spokesman for the National Guard air search and rescue operations during Colorado’s floods. That’s because including pets in the rescue effort helped convince even reluctant residents to leave their homes. Officials also had more than enough space for the animals and even carried animal crates with them. More than 800 pets have been ferried to safety with their owners via helicopter, the National Guard said. Hundreds more were rescued by ground crews. Livestock, like horses and cattle, were left behind, but a monkey was among those saved.
Once safely on dry ground, Red Cross shelters had water bowls, on-site dog kennels and all the necessary supplies to ensure already stressed evacuees wouldn’t be separated from their pets.
“We kind of learned after Katrina, when people wouldn’t evacuate because of their pets,” said Kathy Conner, a worker at a shelter at a YMCA in Boulder.
Evacuees Jerry Grove and Dorothy Scott-Grove said they never would have abandoned their vacation cabin in Estes Park without their two golden retrievers. But they didn’t have to make that hard choice. Firefighters carried the two large dogs to safety on the same zip line used to rescue the retired Ohio couple.
“They put them in a harness and one of the firefighters hooked himself to them and brought them across,” Dorothy Scott-Grove said. “We will not be separated.”
Once out, the Red Cross found the couple a pet-friendly hotel where the dogs the next day “were resting comfortably on our king-sized bed,” she said.
In a state where dog passengers are as common as humans in cars, Lisa Pedersen, CEO of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, said taking care of pets has become a central part of disaster planning.
It appears to be working. One week after floods and mudslides forced the local evacuation of more than 3,000 people, Pederson said the Boulder area shelter had just 72 pet evacuees – all but two of which were delivered by their owners for temporary shelter after they were forced from their homes.
“It just makes sense that you bring the pets along. They are part of the family,” Robinson said. “You wouldn’t leave a family behind because they had kids.”
Follow Jeri Clausing on twitter (at)jericlausing
In a video posted to Vimeo on Thursday, Osterkamp pops the question to Andrea Tyler — but not before he leads her on an elaborate Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt complete with puzzles, riddles and quests to some of their favorite places around town.
At the end of the long journey, Osterkamp is waiting for Tyler at their favorite bar with a very romantic surprise.
Watch the video above to see the sweet and insanely detailed proposal for yourself. Then click through the slideshow below for photos from another one of our favorite Harry Potter proposals.
But earlier this week, word got out in the animal advocacy community about the NFL player and convicted dogfighter‘s event, which led to a lot of angry messages directed at Buffalo Wild Wings. (Here’s a sample post on Facebook: “You suck. Your food sucks. Anyone who eats there sucks. And whoever thought liking/ supporting Michale Vick should burn in hell.”)
Friday, the restaurant confirmed that Vick was out.
“The event was arranged through a third party and did not follow the proper process or go through appropriate approvals,” David Hakensen, a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson, said in an email to HuffPost. Hakensen declined to say if the protests influenced the decision, saying that “I believe the statement speaks for itself.”
And Gordon Shell, a mostly-retired mixed martial arts fighter from Detroit who now spends his time raising money and otherwise championing dogs (and selling anti-microbial countertops), couldn’t be happier.
Or he could, but only if Michael Vick would finally agree to meet him in a cage.
Shell, who just turned 44, quit MMA last year with more than 20 years of competing under his belt, after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Plus, he says, “I just didn’t like getting punched in the face anymore.”
He’s willing to get punched one more time, though, if Vick says yes to what Shell hopes will be a match shown on Pay Per View, that would raise money for animal rescue groups and would also satisfy those who believe the now-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback’s jail sentence and fines haven’t been punishment enough.
“If you truly want redemption, if you truly want to be free, people want to see you bleed,” says Shell. “At the end of the fight, I’m going to grab the microphone, and just announce to all the animal advocates, OK, this man has actually stepped up. We’re both bleeding. He’s bleeding. He’s felt like what it’s like to be a dog. Except he’s still alive, we haven’t electrocuted him. But he’s stepped up. Now we have to let him finally be free.”
Shell says he understands that this fight is unlikely to happen, while Vick is still employed as a football player (Vick’s publicist said a year ago he wanted “no part of it,” Shell told one blogger; we’ve reached out to Vick and haven’t yet heard back). But this is not the first time that activists have shut down a Vick appearance. And Shell’s hoping that the protests will make enough of an impact on Vick’s image and his earnings that once his career is is over as a professional athlete, they’ll step in the ring.
“We’re America. We don’t do an eye for an eye,” says Shell. “But we can put him in a cage, regulated. And put on a nice show. We can generate so much money that can help out the abused animals.”
Meantime, among his other activities, Shell’s selling t-shirts that say “Fight Me Mike Vick”:
— Jaime Daughtridge (@banksruption) December 10, 2012
And while Buffalo Wild Wings is now being barraged with thank you notes for canceling the Vick appearance, the Minnesota-based chain hasn’t seen the end of its protestors: Second Amendment enthusiasts still have unhappy words, and Facebook pages, about the restaurant’s preference toward customers not carrying guns.
But one truth I have learned over and over again from my own life and from the privilege of being intimately involved in the lives of thousands of men, women, and children of all ages over the last 37 years I have been privileged to be a rabbi, is that it isn’t the ups and downs, the traumas or successes, or the circumstances of our lives at all that really matter. It is always the one thing that every one of us brings to each of these moments in our lives, and that is our own ATTITUDE. It’s our attitude that always matters most, which is why lesson number one for me, is that “attitude is everything. That’s why it is always true that the happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything. I have a wonderful 95-year old congregant named Bob Schiller who is one of the premier comedy writer’s of all time — he wrote for I Love Lucy, Maude, All in the Family and so much more. Every time I ask Bob how he is doing, he always answers, “Perfect, but improving.” That’s what I mean by attitude!
The second most important lesson I have learned as a rabbi, is that most of the time the most important thing you can do in life, is simply SHOWING UP. A family experiences the tragedy of a death — whether a parent, a sibling, or God forbid a child, and people all around them will turn to me and ask, “What can I do? What can I say? I feel so inadequate to comfort them, to help them in any meaningful way at a time like this.”My answer is always the same — the most precious gift you can give to those who are bereft and lost in their sorrow, is just showing up. Your presence is the present.
Since I sent an announcement to my congregation a few months ago about my impending retirement, I have been humbled by the letters and sweet notes from people, sharing rabbi moments from the past with me for which they are grateful. Even though I spent many years earning two BA’s, two Masters degrees, a PH.D., and two Doctors of Divinity degrees, it is never what I learned in school that has made a difference in the lives of people I serve, or people I love. Instead, here is what people tell me:
“Thank you for your love and caring and for all the times you showed up when I needed you.”
“I will never forget how wonderful I felt when you showed up in my hospital room after my mastectomy, 20 years ago. I barely knew you and there you were — for me. That time in the hospital is mostly a haze, with you clearly emerging out of it.”
“From the moment we walked into your office over 14 years ago we could not have asked for a clergy member more caring or sensitive… in good times and not-so-good times you have always been there for us.”
You get the point. So far not one letter of thanks has come in, grateful for all my degrees. And so my third lesson is that PEOPLE DON’T CARE HOW MUCH YOU KNOW, IF THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE.
What I have learned from my 37 years as a rabbi is that being smart, or knowing a lot about a lot of things doesn’t ever matter as much as simply being a mentsch. If you want to make a difference in other people’s lives, first be a mentsch, and the rest will follow.
The fourth lesson I learned is reflected in a medieval rabbinic text in Hebrew called, Ecclesiastes Rabbah which teaches, “A man cannot say to the Angel of Death, “I’m not ready yet, wait till I make up my accounts.” “Wait till I make up my accounts.” The lesson is simple: Don’t wait until there is time to say the things that matter, because you never know when that time will suddenly be gone. Don’t wait till someone’s funeral to tell them how much they mean, to share how much they matter, to say the words you want to say and they long to hear. The lesson to remember is simply, DO IT NOW.
Someone once wrote if everyone in the world suddenly knew they only had five minutes to live, every phone would be ablaze with the whole world calling each other to say, “I love you.” None of us ever get more than one day at a time — this day. But this day, right now is all we need to make our lives matter, to say what needs to be said, to do what needs to be done. That is what a vibrant, fulfilled life is really all about — living each day as fully as we can. Embracing every day as if it is the only day — because indeed it really is the only day we get — ever.
Lesson number five appears in the wisdom of the Talmud, as a lesson taught in the name of an ancient rabbi named Ben Zoma — he is quoted as teaching the following: “Who is wise? One who learns from everyone.” Ben Zoma’s words are a lesson in humility, in never thinking that you know it all, that you are above learning something of value from someone who is younger, or older, or speaks another language, or whose skin is a different color, or even who appears to be your enemy. No matter how smart I might think I am, no matter how much I might know about a variety of things, everyone knows more about something than I do.
Frankly, the only way any of us continue to learn and grow throughout our lives is by embracing humility. The Talmud teaches that the arrogant can never learn. The best students of any age are always those who are humble enough to say, “I know that I don’t know.” I constantly remind myself, that no matter how many people are in the room, there is probably someone there who is smarter than I.
The sixth lesson I have learned is that real “success” as a rabbi has nothing to do with how large your congregation might be, how beautiful your synagogue building might be, how many benefits are included in your contract, how many books or articles you have published, or how often you are quoted in the Huffington Post or the L.A. Times.
Success is a small child from our pre-school holding up her hands and saying with delight, “RABBI REUBEN.” Or a letter of gratitude from a family whom I have helped weather a personal crisis or tragedy, or a quiet “thank you” from a lonely senior citizen with whom I have just spent time sitting and talking about their lives and the things that have mattered most to them.
The real lesson is that success as a human being is recognizing that you just never know what words you might have said, what smile of comfort or support you might have given, what gesture or embrace you might have shared that ultimately meant all the difference in the world to someone. And the miracle is, that someone will cherish that moment forever, and you probably will never even know.
All of the lessons I have learned might be summed up in the story of the young man who felt so overcome by a sense of despair when he thought of all the injustice, pain and cruelty in the world, that he lifted up his voice to God in anger and sorrow and said, “Dear God, how can you allow all this injustice, pain, and cruelty in the world and do nothing?” Then he heard the gentle, inner voice of the divine whispering in his heart, “I didn’t do nothing. I made you.”
But I saw a tree the other day prematurely bare, and I envisaged the stark gray of early winter. My work takes me from Maine to New York between fall and the holidays. I watch the seasons change on the same roads up and down the coast, and I imagined it in time lapse. The bright green becomes the fall rainbow before time where only the evergreens color the monochrome landscape.
Both kinds of trees show off in their season. The deciduous reign in fall, but the evergreen stand out against the snow. Each has a totally different cycle. Each would die if they lived like the other. Which kind of tree, deciduous or evergreen, most represents the way you manage your energy?
I think most of us become miserable because we haven’t paid enough attention to how we most naturally perform best. Based on your genetics and your health, every day you have a limit. Like a child that plays until it can’t anymore, and then falls asleep in its chair during dinner, at a certain point the human body needs rest. But we all burn energy differently.
Each day, week, and season do you burst like the maple or burn consistently like a spruce? Trees drop their leaves by the season or handfuls each day based on survival. The Elm lasts through the dark months, where the water is held hostage by the cold, by going dormant. The pine needs less light and water and so it can slough and produce needles in any season. Both varieties are beautiful, but they thrive in the right ecosystem.
Some of us thrive through the cycles of work and family by engaging fast and furious and then hiding away for a while. Others are always present, consistent and available. Neither style is better or worse. Both ways of being are essential in any culture or community.
The problem comes when you find yourself in an environment that doesn’t match your natural style.
You’re deciduous: You like to make sales presentations once a week, and a change in your business model has you at client sites daily; you are a homebody, who likes to travel three times a year, and now your job has you on the road every week. You loved to see your parents for the weekend, and now they live with you.
You’re evergreen: You like to be out in the field, and suddenly you’re tied to a desk; you have a clear schedule for every day and now a change at work means every day is different; you love family around all the time and your nest just emptied.
Are you deciduous or evergreen? When we recognize how we are at our best, whether we’re made for bursts of energy or the slow, consistent burn of our internal resources, that’s when we can advocate for ourselves.
We will always be miserable if we’re doing things against our nature. We will always feel off if the requirements of our daily life don’t match how we want and need to expend energy. And, when we find cycles of life that best match who we truly are, we can always show our our colors.
For more by Jon Wortmann, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.
It is now autumn, and time for me to face my addiction — I have way too many plants. I’ve got to nip this in the bud (yowza!). Isn’t that the first step in recovery, admitting that you have a problem? Fine, I admit it, I am a plant junkie. In no other area of my life do I covet, collect, or hoard. I own nothing, hate shopping, and live on take out food so that I don’t need to have dishes or bother to have the gas line turned on. But show me an unusual leaf or some diva-esque flowering rarity and I will beg, borrow, lie or steal to have it. I’ve been known to give hand jobs for cuttings of rare citrus trees. I am proudly putting the ‘whore’ into horticulture.
Every year, after a spring and summer of growing, buying, and propagating, I have a ridiculous quantity of potted plants, and nowhere to put them in my tiny New York City apartment. As the nights get chilly, I go through my annual panic; what the hell am I going to do with all these goddamn plants? My usual modus operandi is to pawn them off on unsuspecting friends, and then annoyingly text them once a week for the next several years solely to make sure they are watering and feeding their adopted green babies. And every spring, I relapse and start the cycle all over again — Mother Nature is one hell of a pusher.
Just like heroin junkies don’t usually dabble in coke or speed, I stick to my drug of choice. Mine is a mainly ‘indoor plant’ habit. I tried my hand at outdoor gardening, and have been known to admire a Hydrangea or two (take that Madonna!), but really I’m too much of a princess for all that; I don’t like dirt under my nails, the sun gives you wrinkles, and quite frankly, I’m lazy. Indoor suits me fine; I garden whenever I want, regardless of the weather, and I don’t even have to put on clothes (quite a few of my begonias have died of shock).
True to my nefarious nature I often garden in a criminal sort of way; I have dozens of potted plants illegally perched on my fire escape and rooftop in NYC, including marijuana (for medicinal purposes, I assure you). Earlier this year I smuggled many plumeria cuttings and small orchids out of Hawaii. Those chicks at the agricultural scanning station are too busy texting their boyfriends to pay attention to an innocent looking tourist like little old me.
One of my proudest plantaholic moments was when I discovered a new variety of gardenia — just call me the Queen of Green! I was on a tropical vacation a couple of years back, and stumbled across a glossy leaved gardenia with huge, thick, satiny white blossoms, with a perfume that was sweet, spicy and strong. I took cuttings, and that plant is now available exclusively from Logees Tropical Plants, and they even named it my honor, ‘Diamond’s Fragrant Delight’! Logees has the most fabulous selection of plants; I recently acquired their ‘Warm Hand’ cactus, which is a nice change from the cold shoulder that I get from most people!
What exactly is it about plants and the botanical realm that has me so mesmerized? For starters, I enjoy the cute little horticultural sayings, like ‘when in doubt, dry it out’. (That’s about watering plants, not a reference to my love life). There are plants that have provocative, almost erotic names, like Goldenrod, Butterflybush, and Morning Glory, as well as the rather more uncommon Slutweed and Bitchberry. I like the element of control one has with plants — the deadheading, the pruning and feeding. Also, they can be used for evil, if that’s your thing. I suggest giving spiny cacti to people you don’t like, or if you don’t care for their children, bring them an especially large carnivorous plant.
I am definitely obsessed. Am I the only person who longs for there to be a soulful rock diva named Tina Turnip? I have considered adopting one of the following as a pen name: Pete Moss, Phil O’Dendron, Bud Blast. If I were a drag queen I’d call myself ‘Tacky Sandra’; keep me hydrated and I spread easily! I know I am addict, and I have tried to quit in the past, cold turkey, chucked all of my plants into the trash. It was not pretty. I was a total bitch; I developed a severe case of irritable trowel syndrome. My withdrawal symptoms got so bad I tried to water my cat. It was the hardest two hours of my life.
I just have to accept it, I am a full blown plant junkie and always will be. Is that so wrong? No! It’s a way for me to embrace life, express my nurturing urges, and to appreciate the beauty of nature. And who knows, my plant addiction may even find me love someday; I could possibly find the man of my dreams at a greenhouse, plant nursery or botanical garden. You know what they say honey; gentlemen prefer fronds!
But he’s also in touch with his emotions — a quality that has helped him create gripping, realistic characters in his books (the latest is “The Longest Ride,” his 18th novel). This week on HuffPost Live, host Nancy Redd asked him about why some men have a hard time finding meaning beyond the span of their influence and paycheck.
Sparks offered the advice he gives his children: The key to a fulfilled life is accepting yourself completely. If someone is unhappy with an aspect of themselves, it’s important to forgive themselves for it and make a real effort to change it.
“Once you do that, then you can open the doors to happiness no matter what, whether you’re successful or not,” Sparks said.
But no matter the hardships anyone faces, he said every person has at least one big reason to celebrate themselves.
“It comes down to the fact that you should like yourself because you are unique in the world,” he said. “Every person out there is the rarest of all diamonds, and if you can’t see that about yourself, no one else can.”
See the full interview with Nicholas Sparks at HuffPost Live HERE.
It was an ordeal. I was born with a genetic condition that caused my pancreas to pump way more insulin than I needed, causing dangerously low blood sugars. In 1989, when I was born, this was called nesidioblastosis, and today it’s called congenital hyperinsulinism. The medical records show that I was cute and happy (and huge), but not yet healthy.
This all happened before my first memories. My parents raised me to think that everything was all right. The scars across my midsection — the train tracks — are nothing to worry about. That attitude basically defines my worldview today.
So once I finally came home from the hospital, I grew up like any other lucky kid. The challenges I faced throughout my childhood had nothing to do with my nearly catastrophic medical beginnings. That my life was so “normal,” that I could focus on studying baseball, becoming cool, and protesting violin lessons, was to the immense credit of my parents and Dr. John Crawford (deceased, 2005) and Dr. Samuel H. Kim (retired) at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The remnant of my pancreas today doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate carbohydrate metabolism and, as a result, my blood sugar level. That’s not too surprising, considering that my pancreas is little more than a nub. Its paltry insulin production seems to have lagged through adolescence, though we don’t have longitudinal evidence to show that explicitly, and I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 19. I showed all the telltale symptoms: weight loss, physical weakness, frequent urination, thirst, and, as it turned out, a blood glucose level of around 600 mg/dL. (That’s really high.) I was working on a family farm at the time, and the other strapping, vigorous college students on the crew thought I was a lazy weakling. I was starting to think so, too.
The doctors and I set about reining in my blood sugar. No one, including the American Diabetes Association, suggested that I should try to log levels expected of a non-diabetic. They set moderate goals that would be achievable with moderate effort. The endocrinologist furnished me with insulin shots. The nutritionist reassured me that I wouldn’t have to make uncomfortable dietary changes.
This plan was apparently designed to manufacture success and build positive relationships with my doctors and my diabetes. And I see the rationale. It’s true that patients are better off when inclined to visit the doctor at all, so the doctor wants to foster cooperation. I suggest that cooperation could be fostered through respect and honesty rather than leniency.
Somewhere here lies a line between accommodating a patient’s comfort level and withholding information that could extend or improve that patient’s quality of life. Settling for mediocre results would not kill me immediately, but it would quicken the onset of diabetic complications (a comically mild term) such as blindness, nerve damage, high blood pressure, depression, heart failure, and death.
This sort of doctor-patient relationship reminds me of the perverse incentives that drive grade inflation in academia. Need an extension? I’ll give you that extension, that B+. I’ll make your life easy if you rate me highly on course evaluations, because that’s how I get tenure.
So I was prescribed insulin pens, which I used to administer injections several times daily. After a couple of years, I switched to an insulin pump, with its promise of flexibility and effectiveness. All the while, I tested my blood sugar compulsively and limited my carbohydrate intake.
This all worked to regulate my blood sugar levels. Using these tools, I exceeded the doctors’ expectations.
But success came at a price. More than once, I messed up. I miscounted my carbs and injected the wrong amount of insulin. I was caught without glucose tablets. I got frustrated with a persistent high blood sugar and overdosed. That’s called a rage bolus. My blood sugar hit 50, then 40, then 30. I lost consciousness. They found me having a seizure in the quad, and I woke up in the hospital.
This perpetual roller coaster left me angry, confused, and apparently unable to go about my business without stumbling into the ground. (That’s what happens when your blood sugar plummets. You get all shaky, the world spins, you lose track of reason, you try to pretend that everything is fine, you get ornery, you gobble down whatever sugar is on hand to reverse the tide. If you lose consciousness, you hope someone finds you and calls an ambulance.)
So in 2011, I stopped taking insulin. I thought I would be better off — safer — by controlling my blood sugar entirely through diet and exercise. The doctors were skeptical, but willing to let me try it.
At first, I had limited success. This was because I occasionally deviated from my strict lifestyle plan. I didn’t want to draw attention by being a finicky eater, by passing on the birthday cake that everyone was enjoying. When I moved to a new city and started a new job, I didn’t want to stick out. I felt like the new kid at school. I doubted that my new friends would accept me, strange eating habits and all.
I was insecure, and it came at a price. My levels floated, and with each exception to the “rules,” my resolve weakened. If I’ve already cheated five times this week, a sixth time isn’t going to make much of a difference. I became hostile to my family’s questions about how thing were going with diabetes. After a point, the optimism and determination that I pride so, the spirit that has brought me so far, fell limp. I tested less frequently. I squeezed my eyes shut and turned away from the numbers that stared back at me, bluntly, candidly, without lies.
When I finally showed up at the endocrinologist, my numbers weren’t so terrible. I still maintained a diet mostly low in carbohydrates and exercised semi-regularly. But the doctor was not totally satisfied, and she worried that I couldn’t do this without medication. She was sympathetic to my imperfect resolve, reasoning that everyone has moments of weakness, so I could have insulin on hand for those times, even if I wanted to use very little.
Give me six months. I asked her to let me have until the next appointment, six months, to get my numbers down. That was fine, she said, if I really wanted to put myself through it. Since that appointment, I’ve taken up running, eliminated processed foods totally, and slashed my blood sugar to well within the non-diabetic range.
What changed? Why am I no longer tempted by a Reese’s cup on my commute, nachos at the bar, and cake on a co-worker’s birthday? The cupboard bursting with free breakfast cereal at work?
My most powerful tool is a way of thinking. I rejected, finally and without qualification, the notions that our food culture should drive what I eat. I no longer eat food outside my boundaries for the sake of a cultural experience. For example, if I visit Paris, I will not eat baguettes, and I have accepted that New York bagels are just not for me. There are so many other things for me to love and enjoy in life. I started to take pride in politely declining food that would raise my blood sugar. Each time was a little victory, a reward for my body. And it quickly became easier. I learned how to decline food with grace and comfort, which in turn made others comfortable with my choices. (I think.)
Lately, I’m often congratulated on managing my diabetes without insulin injections, as if I am a champion. This misses the point. My goal is not to be insulin-free, but to inject as little as possible. As it turns out, “as little as possible” equals “none at all” for me. But if some day, I need to inject insulin to manage my blood sugar, I will, and it won’t be a failure.
Folks often tell me that my plan works only because I have extraordinary willpower that most others could never realistically achieve. This is presumptuous, condescending, and, I believe, false.
It suggests that this is easier for me than it would be for other people, that the mountain I face is less formidable. That it was relatively easy for me to give up peanut butter cups forever.
It suggests that other people don’t stand a chance and should compromise their health for the sake of convenience. This notion has become so pervasive that official recommendations, such as those proffered by the American Diabetes Association, won’t actually optimize your health. It’s as if we can’t be trusted to use that information wisely. People with diabetes shouldn’t be forced or pressured to manage their lives in a particular way, but they should be empowered to make an informed choice. That first nutritionist assumed that I wouldn’t be willing to make the serious lifestyle changes necessary to living a long, healthy life, so she didn’t even present me with the option.
I wouldn’t be here today without Western medicine and the help of others. But we’ve a long road to the place where patients have the information they need, where doctors won’t hesitate to tell it how it is, and where corporate interests have been purged from public health conversations of massive economic and social importance.
#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo