I love being a woman.

I’m a woman who has experience being a wife, a mom, a student, a teacher, and a degreed business professional. I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. and have been to Europe, too, but am greatly fond of western Michigan and its beaches, and the entire Midwest region. My journey is relative to my time, of course. I’m a straight-laced conservative when it comes to education and career, yet a child of the 60’s; a hippie you might say, when it comes to enjoying life. It’s been quite a ride!

My favorite things are my grown children, Ashlee and Krystal, my Colonel hubby, Scott (retired from the military after nearly 30 years but continues to work a civilian job), my mother, Kathy (a pioneer for women who worked in the factory at General Motors from the early 60’s until retirement 27 years later – but who is first and foremost a gentle woman with a strong soul and my forever role model), my pets (Japanese Chin dogs Jake and Lucy, and my kitties, Bliss and Salem), beaches, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and other nature. I might seem complicated at times but truly love the simple things.

My little place in the world, that’s my blog. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about my life, my family, my pets, my job, and how I view the world. I hope you enjoy my stories, my sense of humor, and my insight. This is a chance for us to share that cup of coffee or tea in the morning or afternoon, and reach across the miles that might separate us, and gather close together to catch our breath and a laugh or two. Life is busy. And so are we! So let’s dive in together. And smell the roses, too.

Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger: Near-Drowning in the Rapids

Scott and I were in Colorado in June. While there, we took our daughter, Krystal, and her boyfriend, Peter, whitewater rafting on the Poudre river Sunday, June 28. I have always had this on my bucket list and was so excited! The rafting company in Fort Collins offered rafting on class-two rapids on the lower Poudre and class-four rapids on the upper Poudre. Being first-time rafters, we selected to go on the milder class-two trip in anticipated of a fun day on the river. The rafting company has a photographer who takes photos and we purchased the photos shown below.        
Unfortunately, we were not informed that the river was extremely high this summer, and that it is very dangerous to be on the river whether upper or lower. The rafting company never mentioned this to us in our fifteen minute or so "briefing" we received shortly before embarking and signing a liability waiver. So when we got on the Poudre that day, we hit class three/four rapids within a few minutes, nearly capsizing the raft, tossing me out of the raft, our "expert" guide also tumbled into the water, and Scott fell in, too! It was the worst for me because I bounded out backwards and headfirst into the river, just missing a large boulder as you can see from the photos. The guide is pictured in blue and mentioned he arrived in Colorado "about a year ago" and gave us no indication how long he has been an "expert" guide on the Colorado river. Scott also fell overboard trying to grab me. I was in an orange and grey shirt, Scott was wearing a green shirt and Peter is pictured in the white shirt with red life jacket, while Krystal is wearing a black tank top  with red life jacket - Krystal and Peter were in the front of the raft. In one photo you see two red helmets in the water - Scott and me!    
Since this trip, I have learned that there are approximately 600 near drowning victims for every drowning; how many of these near drowning victims suffer complications or die afterwards?
The water was so powerful that Scott's water shoes were ripped off his feet once he hit the water! You can see the fear and exhaustion in Scott's face as he tries to get back on the raft while the top of my red helmet is barely visible in the water.  Scott is in good physical condition but the Poudre kicked his butt - he was exhausted from his minute or so ordeal yet. I went in before he did and was still underwater!                 
I was churned and spun by the forceful Rapids and face down, water swirling and churning through my nasal passages and mouth as I fought to hold my breath and push the water out. I can barely swim but this river can take down the strongest of swimmers, in fact, one 25-year old woman drowned the week before in this same river. We found out later that there have been several drownings on the Poudre this year. The life jackets we were given have a headrest on them, but that didn't keep me afloat because of the powerful rapids churning and trying to pull me under!                 
The water was barely 50-degrees but my body went into shock and survival mode so I did not feel the cold. I concentrated on trying to keep the water out and continued to fight for air.  Amazingly, I did not panic but remembered to put my body in the "V" position as instructed by the raft crew right before the trip; they said if you fall in the water, to point your legs and arms upward, which supposedly will help cause minimal body damage from all the rocks and help others to attempt to grab an appendage. At this point however, I had taken quite a beating and was losing steam from the pounding water. I didn't know my body had drifted around the boat and was desperately trying to breathe  -- then a hand grabbed mine; it was  the hand of my younger daughter Krystal who I found out later had fearlessly leapt around the boat trying to save me. I felt her hand and was so disoriented that I had no clue whose it was, but it felt like HOPE to me in this situation. I clung to it. 
Krystal is in good physical shape but is a very slim woman with average upper body strength, yet she hung on to me when stronger men had just failed. I am so proud of my daughter. 
I do not believe this would have turned out so well had Krystal not been there and acted so selflessly. I was going down over and over and could easily have been washed away with the current in the dangerous class three / four rapids. The pictures tell it all. In one photo you can see Krystal holding my hand while just the top of my red helmet is visible. Being a mom, I look back on this photo and marvel that the baby I had in 1986 actually grew up to be such a wonderful and loving daughter, and actually saved my life.
I didn't plan on adding body surfing in the rapids to my bucket list and was told that I have joined the Poudre swim team! Scott bought me a tee shirt that says "the river called and I answered." Little did I realize, I was not out of danger yet. As typical with a near-drowning experience, the body takes in so much water in and around the lungs that complications arise a day or so later. The next day I wasn't feeling so good and during Monday night's sleep, my lungs were wheezing and whistling. Tuesday morning we headed for the med center. They took x-rays and told  me to head for the emergency room. My breathing was labored and I could barely take a step. I was going downhill fast. The lungs are very powerful but fragile when illness strikes. The Poudre as with many rivers, is full of bacteria, so taking in water can be deadly in many ways.
I was running a fever and in the 95-degrees Colorado heat had been walking around with a sweater on. At the emergency room, my blood pressure and heart rate were extremely high, and I was immediately put on fluids and oxygen. After a breathing treatment, more x-rays were taken. I had a wonderful physician, Dr. Bonnie, who told me she was from Chicago. I told her I felt better already, knowing that Chicago has so many terrific and talented physicians. Dr. Bonnie mentioned a particular "number" that was going up after the first bag of fluids and so she ordered that I stay in the hospital overnight. I was given more fluids and antibiotics and treated for pneumonia. My fever broke during the night.
I shared my photos of the raft trip on my iPhone with my night nurse (his name was Scott), and he said he is very familiar with the Poudre and that in his opinion, we were on class-four rapids and not class-two that we had signed up for! The night nurse also shared his own near-drowning story of the river with me. He, too, had nearly drowned and said it was "terrifying" and that it was traumatically stressful -- and that he couldn't even look at a kiddie pool afterwards without reliving his horrible ordeal!  We talked about how irresponsible the rafting company had been because they failed to inform us of the current conditions of the river. Several other hospital personnel also were stunned that we had been rafting in the river and said the current conditions are not safe! Since this trip, I have learned that there are approximately 600 near drowning victims to every drowning; how many of these near drowning victims suffer complications or die afterwards?
Colorado news stations and newspapers have published many stories this summer warning of the summer 2015 conditions, but people from out of town do not see or hear about this until it is too late! Raft companies should be made accountable and be subjected to higher standards so that patrons are better informed of the day's water conditions. As it stands now, once you sign a waiver, you might be signing your life away!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Last Hurrah for Crestonites

Here is an article I've written for the Grand Rapids Press on behalf of the Creston All-Class Reunion Committee since Creston High School is officially closing this year.

Last Hurrah for Crestonites

By: Marie Stressman Haraburda

In October 2012, the Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools announced a restructuring proposal that included the closing of several high schools, including Creston High School (1923 – 2013), which started an avalanche of disbelief and sadness around the country via Creston alumni networks on Facebook.

Rumblings included former students tossing around ideas about a get-together, and many locations were mentioned. A Facebook page called "Goodbye to Creston High" was created by Joyce Washburn, class of 1967, with the intent of getting Creston alum together for one last tour, but the GRPS already had a tour in the works, so that put the kibosh on Washburn’s plans. Amidst Facebook postings, Donna Staal Swanson, class of 1979, decided to spearhead efforts for one last hurrah in the form of a class reunion – for all classes -- and an enthusiastic committee was soon formed via Crestonites (aka Polar Bears) involved in early discussions. Staal Swanson took over as administrator of the "Goodbye Creston High" Facebook page and successfully sought out donations of $10 each to secure the $100 deposit required for the park pavilion.

The all-class reunion has now turned into one HUGE event! In fact, once a location was identified, ideas started streaming in via Facebook. Soon after, Alan Maillet, class of 1979, created a Web link to alert all non-Facebook users about the Creston events, and he also created a Facebook page to house all the Creston alumni and related links at

So, on Saturday, August 3, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Creston students of all generations as early as class of 1940 will gather in Riverside Park, a long known hang-out for Crestonites over the decades, to reminisce and celebrate the good times of an era and generations of the past, when Creston High School stood tall amid the Class A Public Schools in Grand Rapids, and was known for its compassionate and gifted teachers, spirited student body, and excellence in athletics. Those attending the reunion are invited to bring their own picnic fare and drinks, but no alcohol is allowed in the park.

Nearly 500 former students have sent an RSVP to attend via the event page. The all-class reunion is a Creston alumni and faculty event only. Plans are in the works to sell special alumni Creston T-shirts before the reunion, so make sure you order yours on the Creston Website, or Goodbye Creston High Facebook page. E-mail Staal Swanson at CrestonReunion@gmail.com with any questions on the reunion.

Riverside Park is significant to many former Creston students and during the 1970’s and beyond, students used the park as a popular place to cruise, listen to music and hang out, play Frisbee, and in the evening, especially after high school dances, pair up as couples to watch the "submarine races". Some Creston graduates joked about bringing back a raft race along with the all-school reunion, but of course this comment was in jest. But Riverside Park is certainly one extension of the Creston High School experience, and the most appropriate place for an all-class reunion.

In addition to the plans for the gathering in Riverside Park, Crestonites and the general public are invited to pay their last respects to Creston during the school’s Open House on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. This is one last opportunity to view the school’s special treasures such as trophies, awards, banners, and old photos. Hot dogs and chips will be served. There has also been a request for a band to play the "Creston Fight Song" on the school steps before the Open House. Creston officially closes its doors on June 7, 2013, with the last official Creston graduation the following day.

Creston’s distinctive architecture with its gargoyle faces and many steps was the pride of high school students who attended there. If only those steps could talk.

Marie Stressman Haraburda, class of 1976, has fond memories of the school and teachers. "During my time at Creston, pep rallies were met with enthusiasm; we wore our blue and gold clothes on Fridays, and clapped and got all ‘FIRED UP’ to the chants of our cheerleaders and pom-pom leaders before the games! We had team spirit and pride in our school!

I was one of a few females to venture into the R.O.T.C. program for the very first time in fall 1973, and was mentored along with my male counterparts, by Sergeant William Friske (who passed away this year), an Army Veteran of the Vietnam War who was an exceptional instructor who gave all students enriching life lessons along with the curriculum. Another amazing teacher was Leo Rathbun; a teacher who went above and beyond with passion and fervor to give us excellence in education via his saucy wit and caring for each and every student. Someone with Mr. Rathbun’s keen intelligence could easily have been successful in any other occupation, but he chose to teach, and we who learned from him are eternally grateful. Mr. Rathbun is retired and now lives in Newaygo, MI."

Steve Moorman, former Polar Bear class of 1969, mentioned via Facebook posting that, "Creston in the late 1960’s had top-10-in-the-state teams, and a locally renowned choir that sang in the White House (in 1971).

Among 47,000 at MSU I'd cross paths with a former Polar Bear almost daily in the early 1970s; so many future leaders in the making, so many doing exceptional work at all the state's universities. It seems the crawl of economics and a long history of abandoning inner city schools when violence creeps in, among other American issues, have doomed this icon of our youth . . . at least in the form in which we've fondly remembered it."

Moorman’s mother graduated from Creston in 1940, making him a second-generation Crestonite Polar Bear. According to Moorman, "One of her yearbooks between 1938 through 1940 featured the artist who painted the polar bear that forever made Creston gyms uniquely artful with that huge and fierce-yet-beautiful beast that is now threatened at the pole. It dominated one side of the old and new gyms. As I recall, it looked boldly, solemnly skyward while standing over a mound of blue polar ice."

Moorman also had kind words about the faculty. "Richard Reid -- a favorite teacher of mine -- was a practitioner of Baha'i with a beard during his wife's pregnancy, as is their way. He made Spanish One come alive in the most personal way for me, and six years later I was living in Ecuador as an Ecuadorean family member and walking high on volcanoes in Galapagos as orcas playfully breached in azure bays. How do you thank that quality of leadership for having put you on your path? It seems paying it forward is all that one can do."

And so, ironically as the polar bears become extinct along the Arctic Circle, the Polar Bears of Creston High School fame quickly fade away in Grand Rapids, Michigan, too; leaving behind a pride and spirit that is legendary in the hearts of all who tread there.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Congrats to Krystal

Dear Friends,
Okay, exercising Mom bragging rights here! So please bear with me. ;-)
My daughter (Krystal) who completes her master's degree in higher education this spring (self-funded, BTW), just received her second promotion in less than 18 months, and is now an Associate Registrar! So proud of my intelligent, self-motivated, accomplished daughter. And she's just a great "kid!" (Always caring towards others, thoughtful, respectful) . . . So happy for her and love her so much.
Krystal has always been a hard worker, and in addition to holding down a full-time job and college, also worked part-time at the Fitness Center for many years. This is lots of job experience for such a young business professional, and I have every faith in her continued success.
Her step Dad says that he is really proud of her, too, and we always enjoy our visits together.
Have a great day!
Sending you peace.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin - the Spice of fall!

Am loving the fall weather, and today was mid 70's in southern Indiana. Hubby and I took Mom (who is visiting from Michigan) to Bridgefest today, which is a celebration of autumn in and around the covered bridges area (southern Indiana boasts several covered bridges in close proximity in one region), and vendors and people congregate to eat, drink, and buy lots of inexpensive stuff.

This festival is ten days long, today being the second day, and we went to the largest festival area. It was bumper to bumper traffic as we neared Raccoon Lake area and took about twenty minutes or so to go the last few miles and park. We parked across from the opening of the festival and it was $7. The good news is that everything is so CHEAPLY priced that the $7 is probably the most we spent on anything.

My favorite "bargains" were crystals for beading and deals on scarves. And picked up signs that say, "Premises protected by Chihuahua Safety Co" for the girls and "Japanese Chin" for us.

Most of the vendors are from the "Shipshewanna" fame, and many Amish were selling craft items and foods. We sampled the supposedly "homemade" fried pies, and although the marketing stated the filling was "homemade," it was obvious that the filling of the pies came from a can. Maybe the can states "homemade?" Not sure, but not enticed to buy a fry pie!

We did enjoy lunch, and Mom and I split some fried catfish with spicy sauce (sans the bun)and Scott enjoyed a Gyro, though he said it was okay but not as tasty as the ones at George's in Chesterton. We split some pumpkin ice cream and it was really good! Pumpkin is the taste of fall! Apples and cinnamon, too.

It was great being outside all day especially in the nice weather, and the leaves are on fire this week; fall color at its peak! Autumn leaves and carny food wafted in the fresh air, and we walked and walked through crowds of people, but so crowded that we didn't even make it through half the fest. I took some pictures and will post one soon. We passed three darling Amish kids with plain little brown outfits like pilgrims, wearing sporty little hats holding hands and running, all smiles. The Amish adults smiled  too as we commented how darling their children were.

Amish sure enjoy festivals, we see them at every festival around here. They even closed up their store in Freedom to celebrate Apple Butter Fest a few weeks back. Party, party, and bake a pie; that's the Amish!

By the time we got to the bridge, there were so many people trying to cross that we just decided it was time to leave the festival. They say "three's a crowd," but try hundreds; scads of people with carts of goods, packed baby strollers (some even with babies!), and some people on rascals, too, phew!  Just let me outa' there! 

So, we went, we saw, we tasted pumpkin, bought some crafts and stuff, and left around 230pm. Next year we'll try going during the week.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love is Never About Money

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for your support and for holding my daughter and her chihuahua in the light during these past few weeks.

As you might be aware, Krystal's chihuahua was savagely mauled by a stray pitbull the weekend of August 17th. My daughter made a police report but the police haven't really done anything and don't seem to think the pitbull can be located. So, my daughter must incur several thousand dollars of medical bills for her little 4 pound dog. The attack was completely unprovoked. In hindsight, we are fortunate that my daughter was unharmed. Had Blondie not been targeted, the pitbull could have attacked Krystal.

Instead, the putbull snatched Blondie, and the little dog screamed in agony as the pitbull clamped down on her entire body, resulting in all ribs on her right side being broken, and a deep gash ripping her open from chest all the way around her right side, up to the middle of her back; if you saw her, she appeared to be nearly chewed in two! Luckily, a flap of skin remained over her lungs to allow them to function.
Krystal's friends wrestled the little dog away from the pitbull, Krystal grabbed her beach towel and wrapped it around the dog, jumping in the car and she and her friend sped away to the Purdue ER in Westville, Indiana, a good 40 minutes or so away from Stark County where the incident happened. Krystal called her sister, Ashlee, asking for guidance, and Ashlee said, "Head for Purdue ER full speed! That's all you can do, keep going!" 
When Krystal got Blondie to the vet emergency, the ER vet thought the chihuahua would arrest at any time, and didn't give much hope.

I am so thankful my husband I were traveling from Michigan, and just an hour away when I got the frantic call from Krystal. She was at the Purdue ER vet hospital in Westville, Indiana (had Scott and I been home in southern Indiana, we would have been 4 hours or more away). My daughter said she didn't know what to do since she didn't have any money with her and I told her we would be right there.

Upon arrival, Scott sat in the car with our dogs, Jake and Lucy, and we didn't know at that time it would be about a 2-hour wait in the car. I went in and sat with Krystal in a small examination office. Krystal collapsed on me in tears, and I held my daughter and prayed aloud for God to please save Blondie. The vet came in and the look on her face was dismal. She said "It's very bad,"  and that Blondie "could arrest at any time." In addition, from the shaking that the pitbull did to the chihuahua, there was concern over possible injuries to the dog's spinal cord and brain. The vet said that the surgery would be in the $3,500 range. Krystal is not one to ask for money. She understands how hard it is to work for it, and how difficult it can be to pay bills for rent, food, gas, and other living expenses. I'm certain that when she called me she probably figured around $500 since we have taken pets to the Purdue ER before. But I'm sure she didn't realize it could be thousands. She continued to softly cry but said nothing.
Even though it was a lot of money, Krystal was so grief stricken and I asked the vet to please save the dog. At that point, I had no idea that the bill would triple in the next two weeks. Krystal's friend, Jaclyn, who works for Krystal's regular vet stated that she has seen dogs with fewer injuries pass away from their trauma and injuries. And another friend, Carol, whose husband has been a vet for more than three decades, and who has worked side-by-side with her husband in his office and has seen many injuries over the years, told me that if the dog makes it through surgery, we shouldn't get too hopeful for another week since anything can happen in the first week.

The ER team stabilized Blondie (who even though severely injured, tried to stand on the examining table when brought in). Further complications included that Blondie was covered in mud, since Krystal and the dog were with friends at a lake, and they wrestled the tiny dog from the pitbull in the muddy area of the lake.

The surgery began at 3am Sunday morning and took two hours. The surgical team said Blondie did remarkable well, tolerating the anesthesia and surgery. Krystal and our family held our breath waiting to hear any news. Krystal went up to see her dog Sunday afternoon, and as Blondie lay there, eyes closed and with tubes sticking out of her, Krystal continued to be emotional, and because of the trauma of what had occurred the evening before, continued to relive the horror of the pitbull grabbing and clamping its jaws around Blondie, and Blondie's high pitched screams in agony as Krystal tried to retrieve the little chihuahua.

But Blondie is a survivor. She is a miracle. She has the heart of a lion in that tiny little body, and determined to go the distance!

My daughter Ashlee has three chihuahuas, and is active in the NW Indiana Chihuahua Rescue organization.Krystal just has Blondie. And while Ashlee's little dogs are sweet and fun, they are not very active. But Blondie is different; she has always had energy! And no joint problems that little dogs can be prone to. She can leap from floor to bed, and loves her walks! She has been in amazingly "fit" condition for a little dog! This might be one thing that helped her endure the tragedy that occurred.

After surgery, the vet team was concerned that Blondie lost use of her right leg, since trauma was so close to the muscle. And during the first week, Blondie's red blood cell count fell so low that she nearly needed a blood transfusion. By Thursday evening, the Purdue team in Westville had Krystal transport Blondie to the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana (also Krystal's Alma mater, and home of the best veterinarian school and hospital in the United States).
An additional surgery was done on Friday, August 24, to remove dead skin and have a more skilled and board certified veterinarian correct issues and infection in Blondie's chest cavity, and get close to the leg muscle. Again, Blondie did incredibly well. I drove to Purdue that Saturday to meet Krystal in West Lafayette, which is nearly 2 hours north for me, and 90 minutes south for her; both of us traveling many miles for the promise of a 20-minute visit with the dog, since this particular vet hospital is unable to accommodate longer visits. They brought Blondie to us wrapped in a pretty decorated lavender "body cast," and Blondie as always was happy to Krystal; her eyes lit up! Also that day, the vet put Blondie down and we saw Blondie limping on her right leg and trying to use it. On Sunday, Krystal drove the long commute back and forth to the vet hospital to visit with her little dog again, wanting to keep Blondie motivated to keep going and get well!
Pictured above is Blondie on Krystal's lap in her lavender "body cast" on August 24.
We were pleasantly surprised when Blondie was released to go home on Monday evening already, and was scheduled to return that Thursday for more blood tests to investigate the anemia issue that was not getting worse but still a serious concern.

Later that week, vets did more blood tests. Blondie's anemia continued and the vets narrowed it down to either a transmission of a disease that some pitbulls carry that causes it, or perhaps a reaction from Blondie's meds and steroids. Either way, it's a serious and life-threatening condition. The tests revealed it was not the illness carried by pitbulls. So now, Blondie continues to recover, and is on special medicine to attempt to correct the anemia.

Today, Blondie is so HAPPY to be home! Krystal spent the Labor Day weekend caring for her little dog, and although Blondie is not allowed yet to walk too much or run around, Krystal reports that Blondie wants to get active again, and that Krystal has to contain her in a little pen so she can continue to rest and recover gradually. Oh, and Blondie is using that right leg really well now!

This is truly a little dog who loves her master more than life! And we continue to pray for her blood issues to resolve, but it could be weeks! Please help us pray for this little "Wonder" Dog, also known as the Miracle Chihuahua. I am so grateful to my kind and loving friends who have sent me emails and text messages; one that made me especially smile was my friend Madalene, who is of Mexican descent and who said, 'We Mexicans are tough!" I love that! Thanks Madalene.

Special thanks to family and friends who gave from the heart by way of support and donations: Thanks to Aunt Patty in Florida for her very generous donation! Thanks also to my friends Marilyn and Mike from Georgia who are extreme dog lovers for their donation! Thanks to my good friend Margaret and her hubby Jeff who gave a generous donation! (Margaret is my best friend in the greater Bloomington area). Thanks to my great friend, Donna (and her poodle, Ginger who I think is half human most of the time), in Grand Rapids who not only made a generous donation but who posted the weblink on her FB site to her dog lover friends. Thanks to my mom, Kathryn, who is so dedicated to her grandchildren and often puts the needs of others before her own, and who made a very generous donation, and mom's special friend, Joe, who is a very caring and generous person, and who gave a hefty donation, too. Thanks to our friends, the Daly's for their donation. And thanks to friends Cheryl, Laura, Carol, Madalene, and Peter who sent uplifting text messages and emails expressing support! I'm also thankful for two courageous daughters, Ashlee, who continues to be a role model of strength to Krystal, and for taking her lunch hours during the week to hold Blondie in the critical care unit of the Purdue animal hospital, and for Krystal, who continues to show unconditional love for her little dog.
And, so grateful to live in the state of Indiana, where we are fortunate to have the finest veterinarians in the United States, especially in the Purdue network, where many gifted veterinarians are educated and trained.
I must say, I could not imagine the extent of Blondie's injuries since I did not see her mauled body. The first glimpse I got of Blondie's injuries were in the week after surgery, when I received a photo of her stitched up body via cell phone from Krystal's friend, Jaclyn. Jaclyn took photos of the "damage" just in the rare chance that we do find the pitbull and its owners, to document what the pitbull did to Blondie. The photo I received of Blondie's right side was horrifying. I cannot even imagine what my daughter went through. Krystal witnessed it all; the trauma of the attack, Blondie's agonizing high pitched screaming, the feeling of urgency and helplessness as she and friends tried wrestling the chihuahua from the pitbull's jaws, and the bloody, muddy, and damaged body of her little dog that she wrapped up in the beach towel. And Blondie's eyes quietly searching her own as her friend drove the long trip to the Purdue emergency hospital that evening.
I have had a few people chastise me for trying to save the dog because it has been so costly. I even had one coworker tell me that she made the "mistake" of trying to save her dog once and the dog died anyway, even though her story didn't even sound remotely like this situation. But -- to those people --  I say, please know that there are things that rise above money -- one involves principle -- and the greatest of all involve love.
Yes, I am so glad that Blondie is recovery well because we all love the dog.  But in addition, the thought of my daughter having to endure the grief and pain of thinking that she was responsible for her beloved dog's suffering (and potential demise), then this is too much for my child to have to bear. No mother wants her child to suffer; life is hard enough without adding guilt. Guilt brings depression and that ruins lives. For this, we continue to try to bring Blondie back to 100%, so that even though the memories of the mauling are painful for Krystal, those bad memories will fade over time, and that we do what we can to bring Blondie back to being her old self again, and ease the grief that Krystal has experienced over the tragedy. Love is never about money.
Krystal is one of the finest people I have ever met, and is kind, honest, and fair to everyone she meets. Krystal is happy even with few material things and rarely ever asks me for anything. Krystal works hard and is self-sufficient. For quite a while, she held down her FT job during the week and a PT one on the weekends. Currently, she is pursuing her master's degree at her own expense. I am so proud of my daughter, Krystal. She deserves all good things, especially a clear conscience.
Below is the donation weblink for those who would like to contribute or pass it along, and also, a picture of Blondie recouping at home on the couch, her favorite place to hang with her fellow chihuahuas, from left to right, Mouse, Bebe, Blondie (in protective pen, center), and Armani.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Ahead!

Here we are, on the cusp of spring, and today marks one of the most baffling rituals of spring -- the spring ahead weekend.
In the wee hours of Sunday at 2am, we'll have to set our clocks ahead an hour for daylight savings time. Never mind that history has shown that this routine leaves many of us groggy; our physiological clocks disturbed, tired, and confused by the sound of a seemingly early alarm clock, not to mention the challenges it creates for medical devices, travel plans, meetings, heavy equipment, and those states that do not have such an archaic system in place, such as Arizona.

And living in Indiana presents its own challenges, since parts of the state are on Eastern standard time while other parts are on Central Standard time. This was especially grueling to me when my children were going to school at Purdue in West Lafayette (where they do not change the clocks) while I was living in NW Indiana, where clocks were set ahead. "What time can I call you?" I would ask to which one of my daughter's might reply, "I get out of class at 3," and 'What time is it there now?" I might add. Purdue was on the same time as NW Indiana for 6 months out of the year, but if you wanted to interact with anyone there, you had to really do some figuring to make sure you called at the right time!

According to Wikipedia, daylight savings time was implemented during the First World War to allow outdoor activities later in the evening, and to save on incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of lighting. This isn't the case today. So why do we continue to put ourselves through this?

But without arguing for or against daylight savings time and the "spring ahead" and "fall back" that irritates many and throws us off our natural schedules, wouldn't it be easier and compromising just to split the difference and call it a day? How would we do that? Simple. Why don't we just spring ahead 30 minutes and leave the clock alone -- permanently? Would 30 minutes either way really be an inconvenience for anyone?

Well, I can say one thing about daylight savings time; if nothing else, it gives us something to blog about. (:

Nighty night, sleep tight. And don't be surprised if you wake up and feel out of sorts with your clock.  You'll be fine after a week or so . . . Peace.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Happy February 29!

But do we really need an extra day in February? Wouldn't an extra summer or fall day be more appealing to everyone; say June 31 or September 31?

Let's please remember this when we're updating the Gregorian calendar.

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, a year that doesn't contain this extra day is referred to as a "common year," and if Hallmark gets wind of this information, I'll bet we'll start having Leap Year cards to celebrate the uncommon year, and maybe even Leap Year dinners, dances, and other festivities.

Let's see, we could do a Leap Year dance, and decorate with frogs a leaping, green cakes, and green punch for the green frog color. But would that be too much green so close to St. Paddy's Day? What other color could Leap Year Day be?

Maybe we have Look Before You Leap Activities, and for some odd reason, a Court Jester comes to mind as a Leap Year Mascot: So we could blindfold the Leap Year fool (each game participant would take a turn at this), and let them stumble through an obstacle course. Or just leave the blindfold off, and let them throw the dice to see how many paces they have to take before they "leap," and this could be off a box into jello or maybe into a swimming pool; you know, something "safe." Okay, too goofy.

One fun and safe activity would be to calculate how many Leap Year days you've actually lived through; just divide your age this year by four.

And doesn't it seem ironic that the year we have the extra day is called the Leap Year, when we actually don't jump over a day, but add one? Shouldn't we call it Extra Day Year?

Well, it's just an extra day; don't blink or you'll miss it. Happy Birthday to all those Leap Year babies who rarely get a birthday. And if you don't have a Leap Year birthday, be grateful, and happy day to you, too.