Archives for May 2014

Sweet Asian Venison Steak & Stir Fry Veggies

2 – 8 oz Tenderloin Venison Steaks**AsianVenison3

Container of Ground Ginger

Container of Ground Garlic

Black Pepper

Sea Salt

½ c Soy Sauce

¼ c water

2 T sugar

Thoroughly coat steaks in the ginger, garlic and black pepper.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.  Mix soy sauce, water and sugar together in a bowl.  Marinate steaks in the mixture for at least 1 hour—up to 6 hours.

While that’s working, prepare to stirfry:

1 C baby zucchini

1 C baby squash buttons

1 C thick sliced fresh mushrooms

1 C thick cut onion

1 C fresh baby carrot sticks, (or whole carrots quartered and cut in 2” strips)

3 T EVOO

1 T ginger

1 t pepper

1/2 t salt

Once vegetables are prepped and steaks are done marinating, prepare the rice:

1 ½ C rice (I prefer a combination of long grain brown rice and Basmati)

1 T butter

¼ t salt

2 t garlic powderAsianVenison2

Mix rice with salt and garlic powder in the rice cooker. Add water as directed, drop the butter in, cover and start cooking.

Once rice is approximately 5 minutes from being done, place the EVOO in a large skillet and heat.  Add squash, carrot and zucchini and stir fry 5 minutes.  Add ginger, salt and pepper, mushrooms and onions, and stir fry another 10 minutes.

When veggies are 5 minutes from being done cooking (and rice should be done), place venison steaks on a George Foreman Grill preheated to max setting for approximately 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of the steaks).  Your goal is to produce a rare cooked steak. For the most sensational mouth watering taste do NOT over cook the meat, the outside should display a seared look of black char lines, while the inside should remain reddish pink.

AsianVenisonPlate steaks on top of a bed of rice, with a side of veggies.  Such a yummy meal for two, with left over veggies and rice for later, too!Serves 2

**Let’s talk about venison a little or perhaps all red meat in general.  Sadly, many people think that they need to serve a well done steak, especially if it is “wild game” in order to “get the wild taste out” and to be safe.  Those steaks tend to end up looking (and chewing) like a hockey puck.  Cooking to well done is a fallacy—it is simply not true, and pulls away the flavor intended to be in the meat.  The key to serving a fabulous red meat steak is to not overcook.  You will enjoy the true flavors at their peak potential by serving a rare, to medium-rare steak every time.

I’m a big fan of the George Foreman grill because it’s fast, easy and I can have it working over on the counter while still doing other things with the stove.  Alternative methods for preparing the steak are broiling, grilling, or stovetop frying.  Feel free to use the method you like best, keeping in mind it is crucial to not overcook the steak.  Keep it rare, baby, rare!

 

Take A Breath

“Let your worries drop by the wayside.  Feeeeeel the stress fall away with each exhale.  Inhale, now reeeeeach a little further, keeping your core aligned, exhale, now reeeeeach……reeeach…..”

The soft melodic voice tries to soothe me as I struggle in a tangled pretzel mess of a position they call the Eagle.  I call it the ‘Abused Pretzel’.

Give me Plow pose all day long.    Ohhhh oh no….I’m tipping over….. “thud.”

And that’s Yoga.

Everything is sore.  It’s been months of three times a week of discovering new things about me.  I hurt in places I didn’t even know I had.  New places every time. They say this practice is supposed to calm you.  Somehow, I seem to always be sweating, swearing, grunting and gasping for air and surely turning blue on some of those poses and am anything but calm.  Exhausted?  Yes.  But calm?  It’s impossible to defy the laws of physics.  How everyone else in the class is able to stick their big toe into their ear is beyond me.  Seriously?  Yoga is without a doubt a practice of excruciating pain and embarrassment.  My body just doesn’t bend in those ways.

But someday, yes, someday it will.  It will because I keep going back for more.  More punishment.  More, give me more Down Dog!  More Warrior 1, more planks, and don’t forget to throw in a backbend or two or three!  Eventually I will improve my practice enough to be able to take a breath.  Until then, there will continue to be an occasional “thud” in the back of the room.  That would be me.  What the heck, the floor is a good place to be.  Solid.  Very solid.  I’m just stretching….

But it’s not all moan and groan.  There is one redeeming element of Yoga.  A surprisingly easy feat to master, too.  The practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing, or “Pranayama”.  This one simple activity can actually be life changing.  And the good news is, you don’t have to be quadruple jointed to pull it off!  It only requires you to sit comfortably, and take a breath.  I can do that!

According to the ancient ways of the Kundalini Yoga gurus, there are two energies called Ida and Pingala  that run up the sides of the human spine, intertwining like a grapevine gone wild.  They unite to form the Sushmana, or, the central channel.   In scientific terms, they are referred to as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic system, or Pingala on the right side, is your danger alert system that engages the fight or flight mode.  The parasympathetic system, Ida, on the left side, is more of the regulatory system, and focuses on keeping your day to day bodily functions operating well.  Just think if either is not operating at full capacity.

“Left handed people are the only ones in their right minds.”   Or vice versa.

The “calm, creative, feeling” hemisphere of your brain (the right side) becomes engaged by breathing through your left nostril. The “thinking” hemisphere of your brain (the left side) becomes engaged by breathing through your right nostril.  By alternating your breath between either nostril, you are able to activate and engage your whole brain.  Practicing regular Alternate Nostril Breathing presents an array of health benefits.  In fact, here are 5 good reasons to consider incorporating it into your daily routine:

 

First and foremost, it is a profoundly calming ritual. 

It brings you back to center.  A place of wholeness and well being.  Alternate nostril breathing will break away pent up stress being held in the body and the mind.  This is a critical tool for coping with things that turn our world upside down.  cloudsYou can feel the clenched fist inside of you melting away almost immediately.  Before you respond to a difficult situation that’s got your blood boiling, that unreasonable boss, colleague, neighbor or significant other, take a breath and purge the stress away.

 

Second, it improves the ability of your brain function at peak performance.

Let’s go back to the right and left hemispheres of the brain and what they represent. Our bodies need oxygen to live. Often throughout the day as we stress and work and run, our breathing quickens, shortens, becomes restricted, and we basically starve our minds from much needed nourishment.  Feeling less creative than normal, less sharp, not as attentive, or a little sluggish are all signs of being at less than peak.  Focused, one nostril breathing feeds and restores the imbalances in your brain, and increases your calm, clarity and ability to execute critical thinking.

 

Third, it promotes whole body housekeeping. 

Calming your nervous system helps your inner workings to regulate and cleanse.  Deliberate, focused breathing oxygenates your blood, and has been known to clear out impurities from the lungs, and decrease respiratory and circulation problems.   By focusing on one nostril breathing and deepening it, you “dial up” and engage the parasympathetic nervous system to move from a stressed state, into a relaxed state.  You can effectively manage many ailments and pain by feeding and taking care of your nervous system, the lifeline that feeds the whole body.

 

IMG_1140Fourth it aids with insomnia and overall better sleep. 

A ‘must-do ritual if you’ve found yourself staring at the ceiling more than once, or waking up repeatedly throughout the night.  Calming your nervous system automatically calms your emotional state, and washes away the tension and anxiety that goes with it.  De-stressing at bedtime with focused breathing not only relaxes the body to a state of rest, but slows the heart rate to promote a deeper, more restful sleep.

 

Fifth, and lastly, it will boost your energy.

Consciously pulling oxygen through your nose cleanses, nourishes and energizes your whole system. Just a few minutes of focused breathing is better than a power nap if you are starting to lose steam throughout the day.  It will kick start your body into a refreshed and renewed state of strength, calm and clarity.

 

You can practice Alternate Nostril Breathing virtually ANYWHERE!  In the privacy of your home, your office or “cube”, your car, the bus, on the subway, or anywhere that allows you to sit comfortably and safely for a few minutes.

  • Need a “pick me up” in the middle of your day? Try 5 minutes of Right Nostril Breathing.
  • Simply want to boost your overall energy, prepare to ace a test or get your game on? Try 5 minutes of Alternate Nostril Breathing.
  • Need to calm down, get better rest or just be able to relax enough to fall asleep? Try 5 minutes of Left Nostril Breathing.

 

Eight Easy ‘Get Started’ Steps for Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. Close your eyes and sit comfortably on a chair or on the floor, with relaxed shoulders and nice straight aligned spine.
  2. Rest your left hand palm up on your left knee.
  3. With your right hand, anchor your middle finger between your eyebrows, float your ring finger on your left nostril, and your thumb on your right nostril.
  4. Gently hold your thumb down to close the right nostril and exhale through the left. Count to 4. Take care to not force your breath.
  5. Inhale in from the left nostril to the count of 4, hold for 4, then close the left nostril gently with the ring finger.
  6. Let go the right thumb from the right nostril, exhale out from the right, counting to 4.
  7. Inhale from the right nostril to the count of 4, hold for 4, close with thumb, and exhale from the left to the count of 4.  Round one is completed.
  8. Repeat these steps 7 – 10 more times.  Pay attention to how your breathing will slow and deepen with each round.  With continued practice, your breathing pattern will become smoother, deeper and longer.

Dedicated Right or Left Nostril Breathing is just that…follow steps 1 – 5 repeating only on the one side.

IMG_0910

The Yoga Pretzel Poses may come eventually, but Alternate Nostril Breathing can be mastered today!  So go ahead and give it a try.  Empower yourself with a feeling of fresh, renewed, calm and energy.

Take a breath!

 

Contact PR Brady AdVentures for individual and group gatherings focused on health, wellness, and taking care of YOU!

Buddy – A Series of Adventures – Crimson Sand

Those big, soft, chocolate eyes begging, pleading, yearning for just one toss of the ball are killing me.

Buddy, I’m sorry to be a stick in the mud and not throw your toys for you. You are limping enough as it is.  You are out of breath with short walks.  Let the pills kick in a few days and see if that helps.  Then, maybe a toss or two.  I know it’s hard.

Remember that time we went down to the lake to fetch from the water?

We hardly knew each other.  We were preparing you to take the Natural Ability Test, scheduled a short 20 days away.  I watched the NAVHDA training tape, I read “The Green Book” over and over, and we worked several times each day on the required elements of the test in the short 30 days we’d been together.  You were a quick learner, and I knew early on I had a very exceptional Short Hair Pointer by my side.  Unfortunately I was pretty much useless for 12 days after my injury from the girls.  Your training stopped, and you were very sad.  We had no one else to help us, and the clock was ticking.

Then the thirteenth day of downtime, our friend Don, a “father figure”, and quite knowledgeable about hunting dogs, came to our rescue.  Understanding the predicament I was in, he offered to help me with handling you so we could pick up on our training routine. There was one element of the test we had not been able to start yet, and that’s where our focus was most needed.

The three of us went to a quiet park, found an out of the way spot and prepared to set up our lesson.  We practiced tracking birds on the ground, using fresh goose wings from opener.   You did well for never having followed a scent trail before.   Standing in front of a couple white feathers, an animated “Dead bird, dead bird!” command quickly sent you sniffing the ground and canvassing every inch around the drag line, until you’d finally lock onto the trail and follow to the decoy.  We had you follow track 5 times, each trail fresh on a new location.  You improved each time.  Next we practiced your willingness to heel at a slow pace, normal walk, and at a run.   Even with unsuspecting turns and stops added to the mix of exciting smells and no leash, you cooperated like an old pro!  Then, you became the fetching machine as you retrieved the bumper dozens of times across a big open field.  Dropped it into my hand every time without fail.  All this you did with Don watching or helping.   I couldn’t have been more proud.  Neither could Don.  My prior weeks of steady training with you on the table were paying off.

You were hot, sweating, and still full of energy.  I knew you would love to get in the water.  Don proceeded to help you back into the truck.  We decided you needed a good reward so we headed to our favorite nearby lake.  The lake we went to almost every day until my accident, and it was just down the street from the house.  You love to go get the bumper from the water.  You would often run out into the water and wait for the next toss.  We hadn’t gone for the last twelve days.

As I parked at the top of the hill you began whining with anticipation.  Don laughed, helped you out of the truck, and we headed down to our favorite spot on the shoreline.  Don started reminiscing about the area and the lake, and to my surprise, said;

“You know, I don’t think this is a good place for him to be jumping into the water.  You don’t know what’s in there.” ”Relax, Don, we come here all the time.  It’s perfectly safe, and he loves it!”

On my first toss out to the lake you charged into the water like a rocket, swam out about 30 yards, Waterboygrabbed the bumper and swam back, actually crying as you dog paddled to shore. We didn’t pay too much mind to your behavior, thinking you were just extremely excited. But when you got out of the water, you were standing crooked; your eyebrows were scrunched together in confusion, frozen in place, still holding the bumper.  You looked up at me with those soft chocolate eyes and held your paw up just like I’ve been holding my stitched and bandaged arm; limply.  You dropped the orange plastic bumper, and began to wail in pain.  The sandy ground under your chest started turning crimson red.

“Oh my God, he’s hurt Don, he’s hurt!”  I cried and dropped to my knees, grabbing for your leg with my good hand, with you still wailing and now leaning into my bandaged arm.

Don instantly hit the ground beside me, carefully grabbed the crimson dripping liver and ticked leg and inspected it.  “Oh my, this is bad, this is not good”  He concluded,  you began to shiver and shake.  DAMN—you slit open the back of your lower right foot.   I started frantically unwrapping the bandage covering my cast while Don folded your leg at the joint and held it tight.

“Here, Don, take this and wrap it and apply pressure.  Just take it,  TAKE it!” Don complied, took my bandage and pressure wrapped your foot while I held you with my good arm, tying the bandage end to your collar to hold your foot up.  You didn’t struggle at all, you resigned yourself to our care and let us do what we needed to do, holding your hurt foot up to make it easy.  It was as though you knew, and had complete faith and trust in us.  You were prepared to deal with travel on three legs.

We scrambled up the hill, leaving behind a huge patch of moist, crimson sand.  Don guided you into the truck, keeping you on the floor in the front seat with him.  I jumped in the driver side and burned rubber all the way to the vet office.

You were such a brave, trusting good boy, and Don’s help was immeasurable.  The vet said it was a good thing we got there when we did.  You were inflicted with a horizontal gash to the bone, right under the dew claw, an area that’s very difficult to treat and heal successfully.  Twelve stitches later, you’d have to remain totally motionless for at least 5 days to even have a chance to go to the Natural Ability test.

DoubleTroubleCNow you and I had matching bandages—and stitches!  Your leg needed more stitches than my wrist did.  Aside from that, the only difference between us was, you had a cone over your head.

Thankfully we were not alone that sunny summer day back in 2004.  Things could have been much worse. Don came back to the house with us and we sat outside in the yard, watching you try to navigate the yard with your cone head and slowly get goofy from the pills the vet prescribed.  In frustrated resolve, you finally lay down next to Don and drift off to sleep.  Before long, I grew weary from my own meds and fell asleep on Dons shoulder as well.

Don came over daily to see how “us two gimps” were doing.  You would grab your toy and limp over to him and stare him down with those big, soft, chocolate eyes; begging, pleading, yearning for just one toss of the bumper.  All I could think about was that fateful day at the lake, with you standing in a pool of crimson sand.  “Settle, boy, settle.”  Keeping you still those next 5 days was all but impossible.

Precious Don, our good friend, never once said “ I told you so”.

Now, just like back then, your desire to fetch and retrieve and please me far overrides any acknowledgement that you have pain or discomfort.  You are simply wired that way.  I know it’s hard.  Hang on, baby, maybe we’ll try a toss or two tomorrow.

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 6 of 6 Simple Steps

  1. Choose to feel hopeful

Somehow, it sure seems easier to look at the negative, than the bright side of things.  Especially if you’re already down for the count.

“Once again I didn’t get the job.  Couldn’t pay the Visa this month.  Had to say “no” to summer sports for Johnny…..and now ‘this’ has to happen!  It’s never going to end.  I can’t get it right. I’m not good enough, smart enough, skilled enough…..”

Yes you are.

There are countless euphemisms to choose from. Catchy phrases to keep you on track and positive. Bottom line quite simply is,

“Life Is What You Make It”.

It’s not anyone’s doing but your own for how you feel.  It’s easy to feel like you’ve been targeted.  Someone or something is “out to get you” or keeping you from succeeding.  But the truth is, 99.9% of what goes on each day is going on despite you, and has nothing at all to do with you.  If you choose to believe it’s all about you and allow it to bring you down, you sabotage precious time that could be spent focusing on results. You may not be able to change what is happening in your world right now, but you are always able to change how you respond to it.

Choose to respond with hope.

Choose to be hopeful.

Choose to dig deep to find the bright side, no matter what.  If you fall down, get back up, and try again.

One thing I do during those occasional times when I fall short of keeping my head up is, I put up little reminder post-it’s around the house that say things like “choose”, “you can” and “anything is possible”.  In addition, I’m an avid believer in having and following a solid life plan, and following this series of tips.

It all helps keep the sanity factor up and operating.

Look outside your own situation.  Know that there are many people far worse off than you.  It’s the human spirit and will to survive in us that keeps us going. Find it in you, and run with it. Seeing hopeful determination in another person is inspiring.  It is an asset to have in the interview process, too.

“There are new job opportunities every week to try for, and I will.  So I didn’t pay the Visa, but I did pay another bill.  At least right now I have more time to spend with Johnny…..and so what if  ‘this’ had to happen?  It presents a new direction.  We have the basics, and I have a solid plan for tomorrow!  This bad situation is temporary.  I am getting it right, I am good enough, smart enough, skilled enough….and there is an employer out there who is looking for me.  I will pull through this.  I bring value.  The right opportunity will come.  I will conquer this and anything else thrown at me to land my next job.”

Choose to feel hopeful.

Remember you are the only one of you, so, bring it both barrels and rock it out of the park!

Contact PR Brady AdVentures for a consultation and information on experiences designed to boost your inspiration.

 

Buddy – A Series of Adventures — Ruling the Roost

“ARRRRR—CRASH—-Thump—ARRRRR—Yip Yip!”  I run to the living room.  You spun yourself right off the couch and Angel scolded you to settle down.  You can’t be whacking your leg.  You should know better, dear, than to argue with your sister.  Surely by now you’ve learned your 60 pounds of non-stop athleticism and hunting dog energy is no match for a 15 pound blonde hair ball dust mop.

Especially now.  Angel knows there is something gravely wrong.  She knows you are hurting.  And she is most certainly going to step up her duty of controlling the house to protect you the best she can from more injury.  And Buddy, I’m sorry but even if that means snapping at you when you get a little too wild.  Or a little too anything.  She’s been in charge from beginning, remember?  So just chill, and all will be good.

I’ll never forget our first few weeks together—how about our first few days that hot July of 2004!  Mere days after I brought you home to meet the ‘other’ man in my life, and your two Lhasa Apso sisters who were just over a year old, the family was turned upside down.   The trauma and drama of a not so civilized separation of my betrothed and I, sent you, me, and the girls packing for a week–basically living out of my truck or with friends while waiting for the dust to settle and him to evacuate the house.

That in itself was a seriously insane introduction to the family.  I know you thought it was all your fault, but truly it wasn’t.  The marriage was in trouble before you arrived.  It was something cultivating for a long time, and it just happened to come to a head that week.  When we finally were able to return home, it was much better, much quieter—in your estimation anyway. Clearly, you didn’t mind being the only guy in the house.  But the girls were uneasy, wondering “where’s dad?” and “why is that big dog still here?”

A storm was a-brewin’ and we didn’t see it coming, Buddy.

Remember those next few days?  What fun as you explored your new yard.  You could run circles on grass, we would play Frisbee, and then a new man came over and helped me build your training table.  Those were some good days.  The girls would lounge around on the patio and watch us.  Especially Angel.  In fact, Angel would come over to us from time to time, and check you out up close, sometimes with a subdued little growl under her breath.  When you would bound off to get the Frisbee with all your spunk and excitement, she would jump back and hide behind me, ever so softly commenting to herself.  When the training table was completed Angel and her sister would climb up it and sit on top.  She would stand in your way, daring you to pass her.

Little did I know she was forming some opinions.

You were so sweet and fun to train.  So curious, so willing to please.  Remember how much fun we had on that training table with the pigeon and the feathers?  What a natural ability you displayed!  Until that bird figured out how to get out of that small dog kennel. We worked off and on for hours as the girls watched.  Angel stayed so close.  Sometimes, she would creep up closer and watch your every move, then retreat over to her sister Sunny Girl, and give her a nudge or a push.

Something was clearly going on.

Those early days were a true test to see how we could survive not just outside, but in the house too, especially in determining where everyone would sleep.  You sure weren’t fond of your kennel at first.  The girls had the run of the house and you felt you should too.  But honey, you were such a wild child—you still are—and we just couldn’t have you tearing through our small house with all that adolescent energy. What a perfect opportunity for me to start establishing new ground rules for the whole family: everyone goes to kennel at night. Living room and upstairs is off limits to dogs.

That was not a popular change in the house.

Angel became more protective of her toys.  She would take away Sunny’s toys.  She became easily aggravated with your toys.  She would inhale her food, then push Sunny Girl away from her dish and take hers too, then head to your dish. What a perfect opportunity for me to start establishing new ground rules for the whole family regarding mealtime:  Everyone gets split up to secured areas until they finish their food.

That was not a popular change in the house either.

But we worked through it.  It seemed we were all getting used to each other; the girls were less pouty or missing their dad, and it felt like our world was really turning around for the better, all things considered.   We would enjoy sitting outside first thing in the morning; fetching, playing, lounging, having coffee.

Sunny Girl loved to sit on my lap in the morning on the lawn chair, remember? And you would come bounding up with your tennis ball for me to throw.  Angel would be pacing around, trying to stand in your way.  That one morning, each time I would throw the ball, Angel would take a step or two closer to you, as though she wanted to intercept that ball, holding back a growl.  You would completely ignore her, and run to me and Sunny.  Once you dropped the ball at my feet, causing a stir with the lap situation.

After your abrupt and excited visit I stroked Sunny’s soft blonde hair, assuring her it was all ok.  You stood close by, very innocent and apologetic looking.  You didn’t mean to do anything wrong.  It was all good.  It’s a beautiful day.  The sun is out.  We are enjoying this blessed day.  Life is good…..we’re a happy family and……

ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!TEETH!!!!!!FUR!!!!! GRRRRRRRRR!!!!! TEEETH!!!WRYTHING!!!!SNAPPING!!!!!!HEAVY!!!!!! PAIN!!!!!!  Instantly—Panic—Pain—OhMyGod—ANGEL!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!  Jumping up—kicking—jumping—squirming–biting! WHERE ARE YOU BUDDY??

Angel had crawled down under the lawn chair from behind me and jumped up out from under it to my left and in one quantum leap pounced on top of Sunny Girl on my lap, with the intention of killing her!  They instantly become an entangled fur ball mess of teeth as I am trying to pull them apart.

Finally I spot you. There you are, hiding under the training table across the yard, completely terrified.

Angel is jumping twisting and snapping as I jump up and hold a squirming yipping Sunny Girl up as high as I can over my head, they are both all teeth and vicious, and I am in the middle Oh My God, I can’t stop her, I can’t stop them! Oh lord, my arm is burning I’ve got to get Sunny down and somewhere safe—the pigeon cage!!

I make my way to the cage on the picnic table with Angel pulling on me,  jumping, clawing and snapping at her sister with all her worth, and Sunny viciously defending herself the entire time. Both dogs screaming bloody murder in dog language, I throw Sunny into the cage as she fights to get free and lock the door, Angel jumps up to the table baring teeth and clawing on the cage, Sunny doing the same from the inside, and I pull Angel down to the ground yelling “NO! NO!” and push her away from the table repeatedly while the kennel dances across the top of the picnic table from Sunny’s futile slamming about with counterattack moves.

My heart is pounding, my vision blurred, body throbbing, and an eternity of a minute or so passes.  Angels fury finally subsides.  Sunny Girl is growling and gurgling in the pigeon cage, but is slowly calming down.  And you, sweet boy, you are still under your training table across the yard, scared shitless, thinking “I’ve been sent to live in a house of crazy mean bitches!”

Shaking head to toe, I take a big breath.  I look down at Angel.  She has bright red streaks in her long blonde coat.  Oh no….I turn and peer at Sunny through the cage.  Same thing.  Oh no! My arms and hands feel hot.  I glance at my left arm—covered with bright red and oh my god my wrist is slashed open, pumping more of the same!  I quickly lift my hand high over my head, folding it down toward my wrist, holding my thumb down tight to my arm to close the gash, and pace in circles.  My face is pulsing hot.  I don’t feel so good.  The neighbors are not home.   It’s 7:30 in the morning.  Do I call 911?  Who can I call?

Without hesitating I call the girls dad. After all, he is a doctor.  He arrives instantly and with one quick glance takes me to the hospital.  I’ve been pummeled with bites and scratches.  Eight stitches and a cast later, I am home.  I graciously thank my “soon to be X” for coming to the rescue.  He helps me to the back yard.

And there you three are.  You, and your sisters.  Quiet as can be.  He lets Sunny out of the cage.  Angel is spread out on a canvas chair and ignores her.  You, just sit quietly under the swing.  He checks over both girls for wounds that may need attention. They are fine.  I am slowly falling asleep on the swing from the medication I was given.  It all seems so surreal.  I have lucid dreams of demon dogs taking over the house.

From that day on, our world would never be the same.  That day marked the beginning our household having a Ruler of the Roost.  Apparently, renegotiation is not an option, once the winner is declared.  I learned many things after that day.  The dynamics going on between the girls that I just didn’t see.  Things like female dogs get to a certain age and then need to define where they stand in the pecking order.  Two female dogs of that same certain age must determine who is the dominant of the two.  Two Lhasa Apso sisters of the same certain age, especially if still in-tact, should never be in the same household, because their breed are more serious than most about being the dominant dog–and there can be only one.  And finally, things like don’t ever get between two dogs that are having that dominance discussion.

Just our luck I brought you home smack dab in the middle of that time, Buddy!  So sorry!

You tread lightly and with great anticipation the next week after Angel and Sunny Girl went to visit the Vet for an “overnight fix”.  That kept things calm for the next week.  From time to time you “nosed” my cast, and leaned on my side looking up at me, as if to say, “sorry, wish you would have gotten under the training table with me.”

And yes, the household has remained normal the last decade, without any re-occurrence of that fateful day, but indeed, Angel has continued to be the governing force of the family ever since. She is our Ruler of the Roost, and steps up when needed to make sure everyone keeps in line.  She is my back up when my word doesn’t seem to be enough.  She is our weather alert, visitor alert, “something fell or is not right” alert, and “not when mom doesn’t feel good” alert.   And now, as she lays at your feet, clearly she has decided to keep a close eye on you and be your alert during your most difficult time, dear Buddy.  RulerOfTheRoost

Take my advice, Buddy, and listen to the Ruler of the Roost.

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 5 of 6

5) Embrace The Unlikely
How many times have you been passed over because you are over qualified?  Often employers do not want to hire older, experienced executives to come in to their organizations into the lower level positions.  But you need a job today.  Any job.  It’s bad enough if you are being pigeon-holed by the hiring powers that be, but what if you are pigeon-holing yourself?!  Just because you’ve always been in a certain industry doesn’t mean that’s where you have to stay.  Or job category, for that matter.  Strongly consider thinking outside of the box and broadening your job search horizon options.

Go independent.  Become a trusted advisor to the employers and vendors from your past.  Independent sub-contracting is a viable option for many seasoned executives—pick and choose your projects, and get a first-hand view of a company’s business model in the process.

Conduct job searches in industries that are not your primary target.  Just because you’ve always worked in Corporate Finance, doesn’t mean you need to stay there. Open your options to include mid-range and smaller business arenas, as well as other functions within them.  You will find that many skills can be cross applicable and sought after in more than one job category.

How do you feel about the country life?  If relocation is an option, consider looking for a similar position in a rural area.  More people are usually trying to get out of “the sticks” where the pay is generally lower and the opportunities are few, than get into them.  Leaving city life for the  country air could be the best move you’ve made in a long time.

Seasonal opportunities come up that employers view in a completely different light than typical full time permanent employment. That seasonal job could just turn into a full time position.

Consider tapping into a temp agency job pool to get some short term assignments and new kinds of work experience. Those temp positions could be used to soften your corporate expertise history and resume, showing you are willing to work in other capacities.

Go back to school. If you can swing it, why not?  Education is a life-long process.  Who knows, maybe now is the time to reinvent yourself into an entirely new career track.
The key is to become open to new ideas, new directions, and all possibilities.  Get creative, and embrace the unlikely. You may discover a new passion in a new field, more rewarding that you’d of ever imagined.

“I have always wanted to go this direction, and now is the perfect time to pursue it—I am so excited about this opportunity.”

Sounds genuine, and chances are it will to the hiring team as well!

Need some help getting started?  PR Brady AdVentures is available and happy to assist you!

Squash Treats

Show your pooch some love with these healthy home-made dog treats!

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1/2 hour at 400 should do the trick!

2 eggs

1 cup cooked squash

2 tablespoons dry milk

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 1/2 cups  flour *

 

Preheat oven to 350

 

Scrape out the squash from the shell.  Whisk together eggs and squash In a large bowl until smooth. Stir in dry milk and sea salt. Add the flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough.treats2

 

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and, briefly knead and press to combine if dough is still rough.

 

Roll dough flat between 1/4 – 1/2″ – depending on your dog’s chew preferences, – and use a biscuit or other shape cutter to punch shapes, re-rolling scraps as you go.  Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing necessary.Treats1

 

Bake 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack before feeding to dog.

Makes up to 75 small (1″) biscuits or about 50 medium biscuits

 

*Because you are adding in the flour gradually, you may only end up using 2 cups.  This is a judgment call.

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NOTE:  Some dogs have touchy stomachs or allergies, and do not tolerate regular flour.  Using brown rice flour as a substitute to regular white flour will give the biscuits crunch and actually promotes better digestion for your dog.

 

Buddy–A Series Of Adventures – Collar Me Loyal

See, Baby? I keep my promises.  It finally stopped raining, so I took you for a walk.  I loved seeing your excitement.  You didn’t miss one square inch of marking or sniffing–good job! I’m so sorry we didn’t go farther. We need to take things slow and not cause any undue strain on your leg.  It pains me to see you limp but it is also simply inspiring to see how you ignore it. I know you wanted to run free the way you were cautiously pulling on your collar.

Hey, how about that collar?  It sure has lasted a long time, hasn’t it?  Wow, we’ve had this collar since what — 2004?  We did have to go through a series of collars to find just the right ones for you, though didn’t we?  The regular collars, the gentle leader, the choke chain, the pinch collar, until finally we found a great combination between the prong collar and the E-collar.

Who knew that training a purebred hunting dog would be such a huge financial investment, be so involved, and cause such a stir with folks?  Isn’t it amazing how many people are out there in the world, pushing their beliefs on others?  Especially in regards to the “best” methods for keeping and training animals?   Remember some of the crazy things we would hear?  I think the three most frustrating were:

“Oh, how cruel to  kennel your dogs all day!”

Or “You use a prong collar on your dog?  How could you? How mean to let those points dig into him.”

And of course the famous “Oh how dare you use an electronic collar on your dog. Do you get off on zapping him? How would you like to wear one?  You shouldn’t have a dog.”

You taught me early on that your kennel is your palace.  You and your two sisters run to your kennels willingly.  You love your kennels—they are your private places to hide your favorite things, to pout, to contemplate life, chew up big smoked bones, re-cooperate from a hard day of hunting or playing or tearing up things you can reach but shouldn’t of taken.  I understand that when you go there, it means “do not disturb”.  You understand that when I put you there, I’ll be back as soon as I can.  Heck, your sister Sunny Girl gets into her kennel and closes the door!  Yeah, real cruel.

And oh yes, you hate your prong collar so much—that’s why you spin in circles of excitement and then thrust your face and neck close to me so I can put it on you.  You know when that collar comes out it means we’re going for a walk, and you love your walks!  I know how important it is for you to scope out the neighborhood!  You appreciate the collars gentle reminder from time to time when you are getting close to making a bad decision.  You appreciate having your choice—of how much you want to not listen.  After all, the rules are not the same in the city as they are in the field, and you don’t always know what’s off limits—like the squirrels and the bunnies and the resident geese–but you sure are a quick study and rarely need that reminder!

Oh the E-collar. Indeed you hate your E-collar so much — that’s why you point to it, and then to me, then it, then me, then spin in circles of excitement and then thrust your face and neck close to me so I can put it on you.  You know this collar means we are doing what you love most in the world, most likely for the entire day. You know this collar means we are going hunting.  You can’t wait for me to attach it around your neck so you can instantly transform into the mean lean hunting machine that you are.  You know you will range free in tall grasses for hours and miles, seeking out and pointing those big colorful birds with the long tail plumes; hoping the conditions are just right that when it takes to the sky, I will get a good shot off so you can burst after our quarry as it spirals downward, and bring it back to me. You rely on your E-collar to pull you back when you are so deep in the moment that you forget to be a team, or don’t see you are about to be faced with a dangerous situation.

I must say we’ve been so much better off living a mostly solitary life together.  What a drain of energy it would have been to be subjected to scores of ignorant ranting’s from unqualified strangers.  You know the ones, those self-appointed  dog care judges who don’t know a thing about training a Versatile Hunting Dog. They seem to be everywhere we go.

Remember the first time I took you to Petsmart?  What a great day!  We had only been together a few weeks.  Just getting to know each other.  We had been working on “heel” pretty hard for the last week or more and I felt ready to try things out in public. Even back then you were my good loyal boy. There you were, ‘strutting your hot self’ all lean and young and full of boundless energy.  You were positively gorgeous, with your velvety liver and tick coat,  big chocolate brown eyes, very blaze orange leash and shiny new prong collar on.  You were doing exceptionally well with “heel”, even though there were quite a few people in the store.  You got so many compliments.  You loved the attention.  I was so proud of you!  We checked out the treats, the food, some toys, and even went to take a look at the birds, just to see if you would show interest.  You were an angel the whole time, and stayed ever at my heel.

I found the nail clippers, you picked out some rawhides and we headed to check out.  The cashiers were all gushing at how beautiful you are.  Yes you are.  And so well trained!  Not bad for our first couple weeks.

We were barely into the parking lot when I heard the shrill cry;

“Excuse me?   Excuse me!”

I turned around.

There stood a woman.  She was a bit chunky, perhaps 50ish, with short messy greying-blonde hair, Bermuda shorts, boat shoes and a cotton button up shirt on, and a huge beige leather purse slung over her shoulder.  She stood there with a look of rigid posture, tight lips and fire in her eyes.

“yes?” I replied, pulling you close to me.

“I wanted to comment on how beautiful your dog is.”  She said, as she quickly advanced much, much closer to us.

“Well thank you, he’s a good boy!”  I responded.

“Then why are you tormenting him with that horrible collar?  Don’t you know how badly it can damage him?  …You shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog…….. if that’s how you’re going to treat him…. I am somewhat of an authority on the training of dogs and I can tell you…….”

Frankly she lost me at torment.

But she went on and on and on without even taking one breath—remember that?  And we both just stood there, being pummeled with her harsh judgments.  I stood there thinking “if given the chance, how should I respond?  Hmmmm, should I take the high road?  Should I just say thank you and good bye?  How should I respond to this nut if she ever allows me to speak?”

“Well?  What do you have to say for yourself?  You don’t have a good answer, do you?” She taunted.

And then, magic happened.  You gave me what was to be the first of many amazing gifts I would receive from you over the years.  While I stood there stupefied by this strangers gall, you, in all your impeccable breed perfection and beauty made your move.  The move that let me know, even this early on in our relationship, that we would be the dynamic duo team for life.  That you would always have my back, that you would be my true, loyal companion.  You took three solid steps right up to her, enough to close the gap between us and not cause tension on your collar, and you looked up into her face with your big beautiful brown eyes.  And then, very majestically, purposefully, and slowly, you  lifted your left back leg and shot a hard solid stream of pee onto her bare legs, also hitting the bottoms of those Bermuda shorts and boat shoes.

She was finally speechless.Collar

“Well?  That about sums up our thoughts, ma’am.  Have a nice day!  Buddy, come!”  We turned away from her, and proceeded to walk to our vehicle, you maintaining a perfect heel the entire way.

I love you so much, dear Buddy.

What Does A “Seasoned Executive” Have To Do These Days To Get A Job? Tip 4 of 6

4.  Do Something Good

Sometimes, even the kindest of souls can get so caught up in the “me, myself and I” pity mode that the thought doesn’t even occur to them that someone else may be in the same boat, or worse.   Some of us pull the reigns in on our world so tight that we develop a closed “it’s not my problem” attitude.  Or perhaps we’ve spent years feeling somehow cheated and resentful, and are conditioned to be bitterly unwilling to extend a kind gesture towards others.

But we, as humans, are provided an impressive set of life tools to work with in order to be the best that we can be. They are all built into our bodies, our subconscious.  All we have to do is choose to use the tools. It can be easy to lose sight of the tool box when under the stress of trying to find a job.  All you can think about is how you are not providing for yourself and your family, and your perspective can go downhill in a handbag.

I’m not suggesting that it is “your” personal responsibility to drop coins in every single homeless cup, drive a route to pick up at least 15 stray animals a day or sign up for every cause out there with a $100 donation.  Goodness no, not any one of us should be the lone crusader and take on the worlds burdens.

What I am suggesting is that you choose to pick something good to do every day.

“Why should I? What’s in it for me?”  First off, because otherwise, what a dreadful way to approach life and expect to be happy.  Second, energy, whether it is positive or negative, is a very powerful phenomenon.  You will be surprised at how living a gracious, giving life will benefit you, especially if you are struggling yourself.

A great way to focus on the bright side of things is to simply do something good every day.  Find the inner strength to rise above how you are feeling and choose to commit some random acts of kindness.

It could be as simple as opening the door for someone.  Making eye contact and saying “good morning” to others you pass on the sidewalk.  Perhaps it’s letting someone in your traffic lane during rush hour, ahead of you in line at check-out, or  simply saying “that color looks great on you!” to the shy woman at the mall.

One day I was at Home Depot struggling to get several 2” x 4”s and pieces of plywood into the back of my truck.  At least four men passed me as I stood trying to load my purchases.  Then out of no-where came a woman, about 50 something, who just stepped up and helped me lift everything into my vehicle effortlessly.  She made my day. Her actions reminded me that even during those moments when we may feel so utterly all alone, we aren’t.

Perhaps you could choose to help in a volunteer capacity at a food shelf or other non-profit organization.  Spending time in an environment that assists the less fortunate, in whatever capacity you choose, can be a humbling eye opener, and a gratifying experience for both parties. Find a cause that resonates with you, and get involved.  And just consider this—what if the others who volunteer are people that can help leap-frog you into a connection for a job opportunity?  With networking, you just never know.

It is well known that what goes around, comes around.  Karma, baby, will get you every time.  Doing something good each day will lift your burden, change your outlook, empower you to know you’ve made a difference, and it will generate good Karma moving forward.

Oh, and by the way…..

It sure doesn’t hurt to have those volunteer experiences to talk about in your interviews….

 

Goin’ My Way?

As a pet owner, I sometimes feel compelled to stop for stranded, or abandoned creatures that look like they need help.  Sometimes, I feel compelled to reach out to other people in need.

Although it isn’t always easy.  There certainly are enough reasons to proceed with caution in any circumstance of intervention.  Scooting a parade of ducklings, or a handicapped person  across a busy street is one thing.  But beyond those little random acts of kindness onto bigger ordeals–you never know if the animal is a biter.  You never know if the person is….!  And often enough, what appears as an innocent situation, could in fact become a dangerous entanglement with no good outcome.

And then there is the imagination running wild, reasoning, rationale, and taking a leap of faith.

One day, my friend Rick and I are on our way home from Duluth.  How can anyone go to or come from Duluth without making that famous pit stop to Tobies for their sinfully delicious caramel rolls?  We pull into the always crowded parking lot and head to the main doors with a flurry of other patrons.  The sky is overcast and there are storms off in the distance from the east, south and west.  The wind is picking up.  No one seems to notice anything unusual outside of Tobies as we all dash into the building.

Rick and I are seated in a booth at the windows, looking out the store front.  As we pour over the menu for a quick lunch, our conversation drifts to talk of the great day we had.  Our big adventure.  What our next adventure might be.  Finding ways to afford adventures.  Listing our top ten wish list adventures….

“Look at that girl out there.”

“What?”  I turn around and strain to see what he is looking at.

“I think she’s in trouble.”

“Huh?”  I still don’t know what he is talking about.

I shift and turn around in my seat, lean over to get a better view out the window, and there, plain as day, is a tall, skinny spindly girl with a carrot top head, clad in royal purple leggings, a huge, apple green headscarf tied around that short spikey cut mess of orange hair, several thin layers of tank tops, and some sort of super thin long sleeved black sweater falling down to her elbows, and big black boots with silver metal latches.

We had brushed right past her on the way into the building.

Her skin is pitch white.  As she is pulling her sweater back up about her shoulders, she turns her head.  Her cheeks are flushed red.  Her face is long.  Her features, big, sad green eyes and protruding lower lip, are pronounced.  She has a silver stud through her eyebrow, another through her nose.  Her ears are laced with metal, and her lobes are sporting at least ¼ inch holes.  How could she even lift a foot in those boots?  She does not seem happy as she continues to hoist her sweater back up around her scrawny body, looking side to side, side to side…side to side…..kind of peculiar….is she nervous?  Is she waiting for someone?  Is she even from around here?

We don’t think so.

I turn back around.  My friend shifts to face me squarely in the booth, his hands stretched across the table to me.  “We have to help her.”

“What?  What makes you think she needs help?  Maybe she is waiting for someone.” I could already see the writing on the wall.

“I have a daughter.  I would not want my daughter to be left out here all alone.”

“Come on, you’re over reacting.  For all we know, she’s waiting for her boyfriend or mom.”  I look out at her again.  There is a backpack at her feet.  It looks stuffed to the max.  She looks cold.  She looks hungry.  She looks about 21 years old.

My friend is staring me down.  He has that look, that big puppy dog eyed look that says, I want to be a hero today.  “Let’s just bring her in here and buy her a meal.  I’ll pay.”

And then the sign drops away from her back pack.

“SOUTH.”

“We’re going south.  Let’s give her a meal and a ride.”  He begs.

“What if she is not lost or in trouble or stuck at all?  What if she is actually an axe murderer, or carrying a bomb, or illegal drugs or something, just hoping some sappy people like us will fall for it and take her in?”  I, of course, feel compelled to play devil’s advocate with him.

My friend continues staring me down with that look; that big puppy dog eyed look that says, ‘oh come on, you know that’s not what’s going on’.   I cannot resist that look, actually.  And he knows it.

Before I realize I’ve done it, I’m up, out the door, and standing in the cold wind, talking with this shadow of a girl.

“Hi, hey, how long have you been standing out here?”

“Um, I don’t know.  A while?”  She answers, and pulls her thin sweater tight across her chest.

“Awhile.”  I am not sure about the direction we are about to go. “Are you hungry?”

“Yes, a little.”  She shyly admits.

“Where are you going?”

“South?  I’m going south?”  She looks straight at me with those big green eyes, and answers as though asking me.  It is then that I realize her accent. She is not from here.

“Yes, south is a big place.  South where?”

“New Ulm?”

Oh my.

“Okay.  Let’s go inside and get you something to eat, and we’ll talk about New Ulm with my friend. Would that be alright with you?”  I am imagining driving to New Ulm….oh man, that would be a long haul out of our way, but I know he will want to do it…

“Yes, thank you?”

She picks up her sign and backpack, and follows me back into the restaurant.

Soon our new friend Nicole is feasting on a sandwich, telling us about her brave adventure.  She is visiting from Germany.  She had been staying with her host family in New Ulm where she spent a year as a Foreign Exchange Student years ago.  Her host family began experiencing some awkward problems so she decided to take a short trip up to Canada and back to give them some space.  She has “caught rides” all the way to the border, but Canada would not let her into the country, so she is now on her way back.

“Why wouldn’t they let you in?”

“I don’t know?  They say I don’t have enough money? Even I just want to go there to see it for the day for lunch?”

Rick and I look at each other.  I got nothin.  No idea how Canada decides who doesn’t get to come in.

“Aren’t you concerned about traveling alone and hitching rides with strangers?”  Rick asks.

She looks down at the remains of her fries, “No?  This is what we do.”

“So, who did you ride with?”

“A nice family.  Yes, a family, and a truck driver, and him.”  And she thrusts a crumpled paper onto the table.  It’s an advertisement for an alternative rock concert in the metro, with ‘Joe’ scribbled on it.  “He told me if I come back to town look him up.”  Her eyes now show a slight sparkle.

“So, do you want to go to New Ulm, or to this concert?”  I ask as I look at the promotion.  It’s just a couple miles from our own destination.

“I guess he would be so surprise for me to get there!”  She beams.

Rick and I look at each other.  I got nothin.  No idea what to think.  But I suspect we’re going to be taking this German girl to the rock concert.  We continue with chatty small talk for a while. We talk about Tobies being so busy and famous, and the ominous clouds and weather all around us. Rick is maintaining “that look”.

“Okay, Nicole, we can take you to this address if that’s where you want to go.  Does that sound good?”

“Oh, yes, thank you.”  We have reached the decision to all trust each other. The three of us finish grazing on our meals, Rick pays the bill, and we head for the parking lot.

Just to keep things somewhat under control, I ask Rick to take the back seat with her back pack, and invite Nicole to sit up front as I drive.  The next two hours are full of conversation about Germany, traveling, her aspirations to become a Counselor once she completes college in Germany, and music. She is amazed at my selection of music.  I pull out my Bushido CD.  Yes, this is very dirty German rap music.  These guys are from Berlin. Nicole blushes.  I pull out my Turkish CD.  Very nice.  Much better.   We converse in German.  We converse in English.  Rick talks about when he was in Germany.  We laugh at bad jokes. Those two hours went by in just a few minutes.

As we approach the city limits, Nicole is noticeably excited.  We reach our exit, turn down the frontage road, then arrive to the concert hall. According to the promotion, the concert starts in an hour.

Nicole sits up, craning to look across the parking lot.  “There.  There is his car.  I recognize it!  There!” She is excited.  I pull up to the building entrance and stop.

“Are you positive this is where you want to be dropped off?”   I ask in my most serious and concerned voice.

“Yes.  Yes please!  He is here!”  She responds as she adjusts her scarf around her spikey orange hair.

“Okay then.”

She opens her door, Rick exits from the back seat and pulls out her backpack. We feel the gratitude pouring out from her sad eyes as her face becomes engulfed with a huge smile.  We say our goodbyes.  Nicole runs into the building with sheer glee.

Rick jumps in the front passenger seat and we drive away in silence.

“Axe murderer.”  He murmurs.

“Did you notice anything suspicious about her pack?”

“Nothing except the bomb and the baggie of white powder.”

We look at each other and bust a laugh.

“Thanks for doing that.”  He says.

“Thanks for asking me to.” I reply.

I just love spending time with my friend Rick.  We head back down the highway, smiling. What an unexpected nice surprise to meet Miss Nicole today.   What a brave and adventurous young woman.  Hopefully she takes care during the remainder of her travels.

Next time you see someone sitting alone in the cold with a back pack and a sign, think twice before just continuing on.

Maybe it’s time to defy your imagination, reasoning, and rationale, and take a leap of faith?