Archives for November 2012

Decadent Day Starter

A vegan based breakfast that is to-die-for tasty—made with a hearty textured oatmeal that the Scottish simply rave about.

24 oz Vanilla Soy Yogurt (or pick your favorite flavor)

2 C Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

4 ½ C water (keep more on reserve in case) with sea salt to taste

12 – 16 squares of dark chocolate (one bar)

1 large sliced banana

1 cup blueberries

1cup sliced strawberries

1 cup raspberries

Drizzle real maple syrup

Finger sprinkle of cinnamon

Finger sprinkle of flax seed

Boil water in a medium saucepan, add salt, add oatmeal.  Cook until tender, approximately 5 to 7 minutes, add a little water if needed during the cooking process.

While the oatmeal is cooking, prepare your fruit

Slice banana and strawberries

Set out 4 serving bowls

Place 3 – 4 cubes of chocolate in each bowl

Place approx. ½ c hot oatmeal in each bowl

Sprinkle Cinnamon and Flax Seed on top

Divide and distribute fruit over the oatmeal bowls

Top with approx. 6 oz yogurt each bowl

Drizzle maple syrup on top


Serves 4

LynnMarie’s tip for storing fresh berries:

Place your berry fruit in one large container with an airtight lid.  Cut up strawberries and add to the mixture. (they must be cut up).  They have natural vitamin C which is a preservative, and will allow your fruit to stay in an airtight container for over a week. (just long enough for you to enjoy your daily Decadent Day Starter!)

Davey’s Pumpkin Custard Surprise

Kick up the Holiday taste sensation EVEN if you are a vegetarian or on a highly restricted diet that bans dairy, oil and white flour based product.

Davey’s Pumpkin Custard Surprise

16 oz pumpkin (puree, or fresh puree)

½ c brown sugar

¼ c sugar in the raw (or sugar substitute)

½ t salt

2 t fine ground cinnamon

½ t ground ginger

¼ t ground cloves

10 oz soft, low fat Tofu

Preheat oven to 425

Combine the tofu, pumpkin, and sugar in a blender or food processor and cream together.  Add salt and spices, mix together thoroughly. 

Pour into a tall round baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. 

Lower heat to 350 and bake another 40 minutes. 

Chill and serve.

Serves 10-12





Sheer Deer Torture

The hills span for miles with old oak woods, thick and unexplored.  The country road into Stroudsburg is heavy with locals as the school day ends, the work day ends, and people are making that last stop to the grocery store before the holiday. The GPS flags my next step–turn left in point one miles. We do, and the terrain transforms into a dark, foresty incline. We go on for what seems like eternity.  Every turn in the road presents an opportunity for disaster with very narrow pavement, hairpin curves and frequent over-confidant motorists. 

Deer to the left.  Deer to the right.  Another up ahead.  Three over there.  We can’t go more than 20 or so miles an hour, deer are stepping out of the dusk everywhere.  This area must be a hunting paradise.  My heart is racing with excitement and wonder as we continue to meander up the mountainside.

Suddenly there stands the cabin in the woods. 

Stately oak trees, naked with their leaves littered across the Glacial rock forest floor surround the cabin and fill the hillside. Pristine solitude, crisp blanket of fresh air, and a warm rustic dwelling to curl up into. 

Three deer run across the driveway, less than 20 yards from my bumper.  I’m frozen in anticipation with autopilot hunt mode kicking in.  Then David bursts out the door to greet me, and the deer slip into the shadows of the hills.  Lynn is right behind. I hear a faint gobble….there are turkey here too? 

OMG.  This is heaven.

The next morning we take the dogs for a walk, just past sunrise “around the neighborhood”.  Oh, look, there trotted off four deer, white butts standing proud.  There are many cabins in the woods, all tucked away and barely visible from the road, or from each other.  The community is designed that way.  Oh, look at those two deer standing next to the deck of that house.  This is a gated community, regularly patrolled. The speed limits are inforced so take care.  And look, over there, a doe and two yearlings in the driveway of that house.  There are horse stables, tennis courts, pool, a ski hill with tow rope and chalet, and oh, of course there is absolutely no hunting allowed.  Look at that buck standing on the edge of the pavement, looking at us.

OMG.  Shoot me now.

We arrive back to the cabin in the woods, drop the dogs, and head to the neighbors for Thanksgiving meal.  I brought pumpkin pie and Minnesota wine.  Lynn and David brought pumpkin custard.  Oh, by the way, it’s made with tofu, as they are vegetarians, and currently practicing a very restricted diet.  Oh.  This will be an interesting meal. As we make our way up to the neighbors driveway there stand two deer at the bottom of their stairway to the door.

Surrounded by deer I can’t hunt, heading to a Thanksgiving dinner of rabbit food and tofu.



Inside, to my relief and surprise, I quickly discover Lynn and David are the minority of our group.  Our hosts are retired, famous gourmet chefs and they are, indeed, meat eaters. Robert was the Chef on the Concord on Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s honeymoon flight.  Back in the day, he served John Lennon his famous Peanut Butter and Sardine Omelets in his West Village Manhattan Restaurant, David’s Potbelly.  And now there is the most amazing Turkey Day spread I’ve ever seen waiting to be enjoyed. During our meal, Robert mentioned he could get me on a 300 acre private spread to hunt some deer.

Ya know, I’m ok with a little Tofu once in a while.  That custard wasn’t half bad. 

Stuffed to the gills, that night I dreamed of chasing Bucks and Does in the Poconos Mountains.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Three, Two, One, Lift Off…..

Sunday Night November 18th—

Drive 11:30 pm – 8:30 am

Monday am

Stop and sleep 2 hours

Drive 10:30 am– 6:30 pm to Greensburg PA

Arrive to Dottie’s around 6:30/7:00 pm Monday night, crash there.


Visit with Dottie, leave by NOONish

Drive 12:30 – 5:30 pm to Harleysville PA

Arrive to Jims about 6ish on Tuesday night, crash there.


Visit with Jim, leave by 2:00ish

Drive 2:00 – 5:00 to Bushkill PA

Arrive to Lynn’s cabin around 5ish Wednesday afternoon

Thanksgiving weekend with Lynn and David at the cabin, spending time with them and their warm, welcoming neighbors and their family!  Decompression time in the mountains!  Celebration of life, good friendship and our 5 dogs all getting along!



Countdown to the Plan

The original idea was to leave for my big adventure in early November.  It’s tough to think about leaving Minnesota when the weather is so perfect and mild for bowhunting and pheasant hunting.  So we got out as often as we could in early season and did get a few birds in the freezer, but I was offered no shots at deer.  I also squeezed in a yard sale, fall chores, and time to get my business plan and website set up to launch.  I started packing for the big trip in early October.

Then on October 12th the phone rang…

“Hi, we need to discuss your trip.  Gramma is not doing well, and I may need to drive out to Minnesota if things get worse. Wondering if I can stay at your place with my two dogs?”

My good friend Lynn’s Gramma is an amazing 100 years old. Lynn and I were planning to spend a couple weeks together, do Thanksgiving and tour the upper East Coast, then I would continue on my journey south for the next 30 days or so with many stops and people set up to see.

“Um…..ok…..” I hesitated sadly.   “I’ll stay at your place in New Jersey, while you are at my place in Minnesota?  Perhaps we can rendezvous at a rest stop for hugs mid route?”

Yikes.  What else can a person really say?  Stuff happens.  Gramma could very well live another 100 years, easy.  She’s just that way.  Now things would be up in the air with limited updates on Gramma.  We were half packed and in limbo. Off came the cargo rack and camping gear. Everything was on hold.

But wait, there’s more….

It’s especially hard to picture visiting friends in New Jersey when they are evacuating New Jersey due to a hurricane.

It started out around October 15th with predictions and hyped up talk on the local news.  Talk of timelines and where Hurricane Sandy was, and when and where she was going to hit.  Denial is a powerful thing.  Lynn insisted they were fine and not going to be hit by the worst of it, and with Gramma hanging in there I should stick to the idea of coming out.  I tried to maintain faith and began packing again, but the news reports were increasingly dismal. When the hurricane did hit on October 29, it wasn’t fine, and for over a week I was unable to even know if Lynn and her family were ok.  Just 45 minutes from the shore, they were in the eye of the storm.  They had lost power, lost trees, lost transportation, were unable to communicate, and things looked very grim.  The graphic news reports were shocking.  The majority of places we’d planned to go together didn’t even exist anymore. They will need months to re-cooperate from the devastation.

I had serious doubts, and wondered more than once if I should even be thinking about doing the trip at all.  How about I reverse the trip and stop east on the way back in late December? Or go to Texas and New Mexico instead?  Is some higher power trying to tell me something here?  Everyone else I know was urging me to postpone until sometime in 2013.  We were half packed and in limbo. Again, I pulled the cargo rack off the truck, put the tent and tarps and gear back in the garage.

Then I got an email.  They are ok.  Lynn insisted I keep to the plan, that by the time I get to New Jersey I’ll be able to get on the roads, get gas, get to their place, and they will have power back, the trees out of the streets, and they will no longer be using generators.

Besides, her neighbors son is really hoping I’ll help him with his archery.

So the trip was back on.  Out came the gear.  On Wednesday November 14th the packing resumed.  Of course that was along with managing a couple days of running errands, bird hunting, cleaning birds, evening of Swing Dance, meeting with the electrician about finishing the master bathroom while I’m away and having company for the weekend that included us girls doing a grueling 3 hour hike in Hudson followed by a Wine Tasting tour of Alexis Bailly Winery that put us on our butts for the remainder of that day.

After helping organize my travel supplies, my weekend company pulled out of the driveway at about 2:00 pm on Sunday the 18th.  The adventure countdown began shortly after, with me packing the truck one more time, strapping up the back, last minute fussing around the house, then taking a much needed nap.



The Plan, PR’s Big Adventure

It all started last winter when I felt compelled to visit the people I care most about who live far away from me.  I was feeling very stuck.  Then it evolved into feeling like I was missing out.  Then, it became a full blown need to take charge and TAKE OFF…..

Then on Sunday, November 18th at 11 pm we pulled out of the driveway with my truck packed for an extended adventure, and my three dogs wagging tails, riding shotgun–no looking back.

The adventure has begun!

A week has past.  So far, we headed southeast through the night, and within three days visited friends from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. And now here I am, over 900 miles away from home in the Pocono Mountains wrapping up Thanksgiving with my very dear childhood friend and her family.

The immediate plan is to get in some quality time with my extended family, hiking and exploring the area, eventually landing in New Jersey where they actually reside, and possibly taking part in some holiday festivities East Coast style.

There are no real timelines.  The plan continues by heading straight south along the shoreline, camping, hiking and exploring, finally arriving to Florida to visit several friends there, and hopefully hook up with a pig hunt, turkey hunt and maybe even a deer hunt in the Sunshine state.

Eventually we will turn back north, but taking the most scenic route back as we camp our way back home.  Our ETA is yet to be determined.

What’s not to love about that?

Ode to a Service Provider

The conference was due to start in 20 minutes.  My hands were gripping the steering wheel in a stranglehold, my heart began to race, and I realized I was not going to be able to take the Penn Avenue exit.  Tears started welling in my eyes.  I blinked them away, and merged to the exit lane.  Glancing left and right, I recalled meeting with him in that parking lot, and in that one, and oh, yes, that business there with the Realtors, meeting and talking about customer issues and opportunities he had found…..geeze it was back 5 years ago that I had this territory!  WHAT is my problem this morning?

Grief is a powerful thing. 

True, I’m no longer a part of the organization, but I still experience the “Bleed Brown” phenomena, and know my experience and bonds with UPS will stay with me the rest of my life.  My business conference was in the crime scene area, and even a month later, being there dredged up memories. 


He was caring, conscientious, and respectful.  He was attentive, loyal, and responsible.  He was upbeat, funny, thoughtful, and a loving family man.  He was strong, fast and efficient.  He was humble, modest, and always went the extra mile for his customers, putting his best effort out there and providing end to end superior service every single day.  He genuinely cared about his customers, and they loved him right back.  We all did. 

I looked forward to his excited calls to let me know he found a new opportunity for an account, and his infectious bubbly greeting whenever we ran into each other at the grocery store. When my territory changed, he was one I missed working with most.

In a work culture of “church and state”, he was one of those rare Union employees who put all the politics aside in favor of doing right by the customer. Even if that meant getting written up for not following methods.  Even if that meant helping out when he didn’t have to.  Even if that meant working and playing well with Business Development people like me.  He was a gem to work with and know.

UPS Small Package Car Driver Keith Basinski didn’t deserve what fate had in store for him on September 27th, 2012.   

His kids were about grown.  He was looking forward to retiring in a few years. Looking forward to the next chapter of his life.  Looking forward to taking care of business at his daily stop at Accent Signage Systems….certainly not looking forward to being shot dead.

We can speculate all day long. Why, oh why did he and the four others killed that day need to be taken from us?  So unexpected.   So unnecessary. So damn wrong.

But we will never get answers to satisfy our yearning to understand, take back time, or make sense of the senselessness.  There is no fixing this one.  We can only be thankful for having had the chance to know Keith, pray for his family, and celebrate each day we are blessed with life moving forward.

Or can we do something more? 

Today’s economy and job market alone provides many reasons to be concerned, and eager to take proactive steps to protect yourself, and your organizations people.  I ask you, respectfully, to pause least once in the course of your busy life, and access your own world.  Look within your own organization, and answer these questions to yourself, and with your Leadership Team.

Do you thank all the great people that make your business successful as often as you could?

Do you know your employees—really know them?  Are they happy, sad, fulfilled in their job?  In their life?

Do you have programs in place to offer advancement or other motivational avenues for your team?

Do you have resources in place to offer your employees confidential assistance with difficult issues?

Do you see tendencies from any of your people that would suggest a potential for concern?

Do you have a plan in place to tactfully address situations with them that are not comfortable?

Do you have a solid and thoughtful policy to execute with terminations?

Do you require a secure, key entry only access to your building?

Do you promote clearly stated company-wide business rules for all those entering the building?

Do you require pre-screening to hire for shared vision and culture? 

No one can predict when, where or why a tragedy like Accent Signage’s may occur next.  As humans, any one of us can break.   Do you know, should you know, as much as possible to discourage an opportunity for disaster to happen within your organization?

I am saddened by the loss of Keith Basinksi. It was a privilege and honor to know him.

The busiest time of the year will soon be upon the UPS Service Providers in their little brown trucks.  To all of the dedicated, strong, brave, hard-working wonderful drivers at UPS I salute you.  Travel safe, stretch often, and keep it in the Power Zone, my friends.

The Situation

Amazing Outdoor AdventureI’m just a single woman with 3 dogs, who loves the outdoors, spent most of my adult life working in it, and also crossed into other areas of business that deeply broadened my knowledge and expertise beyond the hunt-fish-camp business arena.

Needless to say I’ve been into a routine for a number of years that has provided me a decent living, an opportunity to travel beautiful south west Minnesota, and work with an amazing collection of people whom I cherish beyond being customers and colleagues. I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.  I face the challenges put forth to me each day with a can-do attitude, and give my best to everyone and in everything I do.  The downside is a little disparity between what I want to accomplish, and what I actually can. Work comes first and everything else has to fall in place after.  It’s the routine I’ve come to accept.  Until now.  Did I hear someone say it’s time for an adventure?

What If?

Bucket of Limitless PossibilitiesFirst quarter 2012 proved to be especially challenging for me. An injury I endured all fall wasn’t getting any better, resulting in Doctor visits and treatments that ended up going on for months. So did the bills.

Then my prized hunting partner–the four-legged man of the house–became very ill, almost died, and required hundreds of dollars of treatment and surgery to bring him back to prime condition.

Then one of my sweet little Lhasa girls went lame with a ruptured ACL and required surgery followed by months of recovery–and bills.  Throughout this chaos the demands of work remained constant.  The demands of my personal life remained unaddressed.  If this was any indication of what was in store for me the rest of the year…..

Then in second quarter, the epiphany came.  WHAT IF?  What if I only had 5 years left?  What if I only had a year left?  What if this is my boys last good year in the field?  It jolted me into a new perspective.  Would I have any regrets?  I realized I was at a crossroads and didn’t like what I saw.

Time for a bucket list, and a plan.  We get one pass through life and everything wonderful about it is there for us if we choose to go get it.  The possibilities are endless!

Tips and Tricks, Gear and Gadgets and Getaways Ohhh My!

Whats NewsWhen it comes to the outdoors, there are times when I have to have the latest whatsit whizmo deelie, and other times when I am not giving up until I create some nutty homemade contraption on my own.  Admittedly, sometimes, my ideas need a little massage….but there are plenty of times when I’m pure genius.  (ok maybe not exactly genius).  If it’s new to me, and I’ve tried it with great success, this is where you’ll hear about it.

In addition, this is where upcoming opportunities and adventures will be listed, news and events.  Someone once said “if you build it, they will come”.    Calling all adventurers!