Archives for January 2014

011520145 Brocks Birthday Blast

Once upon a time,  two days before a long anticipated camping weekend with friends, complete with bonfires, hot dogs, hay rides, horseback riding and loads of fun was to start, a mom is told this is an “adult only” party, and not appropriate for her son’s 13th birthday.

I get the call.

“What can I do?  He is so disappointed!  I cannot believe this is happening!  We’ve been waiting for this party for months.  There was no information provided anywhere saying adults only, and I mentioned to them more than once this would be my son’s best birthday ever….they never said anything until now!”

Poor communication?  Hard tellin’, not knowin’.  Bottom line, how rude of “them”.  The kid deserves better, not to mention treatment of mom. 

We talk.  She decompresses from the frustration and disappointment of this turn of events.  We brainstorm.  She tells me what kinds of things he likes.   He likes guns.  He would love to go shoot trap with me.  He doesn’t have a “positive role model” in that arena.  They have a tight budget.  But this year is special—after all, he’s becoming a teen ager.

It’s tough to be a single parent.  It’s tough to raise boys without a positive influence from the male perspective.  It’s especially tough to not have an unlimited cash flow.  It’s even more difficult to work through the unique daily challenges of special kids like hers. 

I have an idea. I make a phone call. 

What a small world it is.  My dear friend Howard is familiar with this family, and is right there to help me make a special day for the boy.  I tell him what I’d like to set up.

“Give me a few hours, and I’ll call you back.  Be ready to go when I say so.” He says, and hangs up.  And sure enough, a few hours later, it’s all arranged.  A day this thirteen year old will never forget.

They arrive to my house right on time, and Brock has no idea what he is in store for.   In only a few minutes I hear from Howard.

“Okay, it’s time for us to go, we’ll be walking for a while.” Brock and his mom are confused.  I’m leading them on a walk through my neighborhood, past a shopping mall, and it would appear we are heading to a restaurant…but we walk right by and instead I lead them into the local Gun Shop.  There we meet up with two of the most amazing men I know:  Howard and Pat.

Howard, my longtime friend in the archery world, has dedicated his entire life to Hunter Education.  The “stick and string” traditional bow hunter has built a life around the beauty and joy of the bow, as well as the beauty and joy of educating others about responsible use of one.  His expertise spills over into the world of firearms, black powder in particular.   Howard may look like a jolly Santa, but he is dead serious about safety, respect, rules and responsibility and doesn’t put up with one iota of silliness when it comes to firearms.  As it should be.

Then there’s Howard’s son-in-law, Arthur “Pat” Patterson.  Pat is an active duty military man, highly decorated and an absolute connoisseur on firearms, and training soldiers on marksmanship and tactical.  Pat’s military career began in 1993.  He was immediately transferred to active duty where he completed Basic Combat and Advanced Individual Training, then completed airborne school.  From there he underwent a series of transfers and promotions as a fire director, onto Chief Fire Direction Computer serving overseas repeatedly.  Then he was deployed to Kuwait as Sergeant of the Guard for Force Protection operations, and again as the Chief Fire Director Computer for the 1/125 FA at the Udari range, Kuwait. Staff Sargent Arthur Patterson was awarded Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

The man is light years beyond an expert marksman.  He has lead and trained scores of combat soldiers and snipers.  He commands his surroundings with strict discipline, honor, ethics and respect.

What a perfect person to coach Brock through his first experience handling firearms.

"Yes Sir!  I will, Sir!  Copy that, Sir!  Understood, Sir, YES SIR!"

“Yes Sir! I will, Sir! Copy that, Sir! Understood, Sir, YES SIR!”


Needless to say, Brock was initiated into the world of guns via the fear of God, Howard, and Pat to never ever EVER do anything inappropriate with a firearm, ever.  This message, of course, was reiterated by Brocks mom and I.  Wide eyed, hands clutched, and “church face” humble, the boy hung on every word the men spoke to him.  He mimicked every movement and procedure shown to him with exact precision.  His mom was stunned at her son’s ability to pay acute attention.  After almost two hours of basic firearms safety training they were ready to enter the range.  Two hours later Brock came out of the range, smiling, eyes glazed, carrying targets shot up in awesome patterns.

It’s not every day a boy has the opportunity to experience the world of firearms in this capacity, from a military firearms expert and not only see, but shoot nine different models of hand guns, from a simple 22 to a 48 special, 9mm and more.

Aspiring Zombie Extermination Expert!

Aspiring Zombie Extermination Expert!

 All that, plus shoot at zombie targets until he can’t hardly hold his arms up any longer. 

Suffice it to say, this turned out to be a pretty darn good birthday, after all.  Especially wrapping up with a birthday pizza, and a special invitation to join Pat and his family and learn how to reload the ammunition they used. 

 Is this the perfect birthday for every kid?  Heck no!  Was it the perfect birthday for this kid?  Absolutely!  Happy Birthday, Brock!UpThroughNJ2013 042

011520144 Minnesota Permit To Carry Course, April 2014

Minnesota Permit To Carry Course Sunday, April 13th, 2014  

Are you prepared to defend yourself or your family in a life threatening situation?

Do you need added protection for your job, business or recreational pursuits?

Do you want to support America’s Right To Bear Arms?


Minnesota statutes offer law-abiding citizens an opportunity to secure a permit to carry a concealed firearm. This course is designed to meet the requirements to allow you to apply for that permit.Here is a brief overview of what is covered:

Psychological preparation before a violent encounter – Conflict and situation avoidance – Use of deadly force requirements – Law enforcement encounter – Legal obligation when carrying – Aftermath of the use of deadly force – Ammunition, weapon types and selection – Drawing from holster and holstering – Holsters, clothing and concealment options – Malfunction clearing and weapon retention – Plus many other aspects of legality are presented


Choose not to be a victim.  Register today for concealed carry permit class.

Sunday April 13, 2014

8:30 am to 5:30 pm

Caribou Gun Club

30649 380th Street

LeSueur, MN 56058


Class size limited to 16 students—and these classes fill quickly!

Reservations deadline March 1st, prepayment deadline postmarked March 7th. 


Note:  This course is NOT a basic or introduction to handguns, although some basics are covered, this is a Minnesota permit to carry course, NOT how to shoot a handgun.


Message me today with your email address for complete information and registration details.


011520143 Delicious Apple Steaks

4 thick cut Pork Loin steaks

4 large Russet Potatoes, cubed

1 large sweet Onion, cubed

3 big Red Delicious Apples, cubed

1 C shredded Mexican Cheese blend

2 T Cajun spice mix

¼ c Grainy Spicy Mustard

¼ c Honey

1 T Garlic Powder

2 T thyme

2t pepper

1t salt



Parboil the potatoes, then transfer to a large fry pan, adding the apple and onion.  Brown in EVOO  with S&P, add Thyme to cook the last 15 minutes.

While this is browning:


Coat steaks in Cajun Spice and Garlic mix, place on lightly greased tray and bake in oven for approximately 30 minutes at 350.

When steaks are about done:


Make sauce:  Combine mustard and honey in a bowl and heat in microwave about 1 minute.

Sprinkle cheese mix on top of potatoes and cover to melt.


Nestle steaks on top of potatoes on plates, and drizzle sauce across top of steaks


Serves 4

011520142 Winter Glamping 2014

Have you had enough of the cold and snow yet?  There’s still time to schedule a Winter Glamping Trip.  What’s Glamping?  It’s comfort camping.  No, you don’t have to sleep on the hard ground in a mummy bag….or hunker over a pan of dehydrated food soaked in boiling water. 

Wouldn’t it be fun to pack a suitcase with shorts, tees and sandals, hop a flight south, get picked up at the airport, and be brought to a week jam packed full of fun activities to choose from? And all you have to do is get there?   

Experience camping with PR Brady Adventures in style.  Spoil yourself  this winter in the great outdoors. 

Maybe you know exactly what you want to do, and just need a place to lay your head down at the end of your adventure day.  Or maybe you prefer having your adventure planned and ready to dive into once you arrive, without having to think about anything except getting  there.  The opportunities are endless.  Let’s talk about what YOUR adventure looks like.  What are you waiting for?

Independent Adventurer Package:

When you just want to do your own thing….                                                                                       

Adventurer Deluxe Package:

Make the most of your adventure with a custom made line up of awesome things to see and do…. 

A few adventure slots are still available in March and April, capturing experiences in the Pan Handle, the Smokey Mountains, and Bourbon Country.   Contact PR Brady Adventures today to set up your Custom Made Amazing Winter Glamping Adventure!

011520141 Not So Happy Anniversary

It’s January 15 2014, almost 1:00 a.m.  I’ve decided to stop and write, hoping to calm down and not go into a crying fit.  Why would I do that at this hour of the morning?  Well, it’s hard not to, since I just happened to notice a fine crack of water along the floor of my cabinetry under the bed of the Toy Hauler.  Curious and somewhat fearful of what I was apparently seeing I pulled the bottom drawer out.  Low and behold, the entire underneath of the bed is wet again.  So I’ve been moving my belongings out of the line of fire—or water, that is.

Yes, I said “again”.

Oh Lord, when does this shit end?

I am too tired and frustrated to deal with this.  Why oh why does this keep happening?  I stuffed bath towels behind the opened drawers to mop up as much of the water as possible.  Weary of the thought that when the sun comes up I’ll once again be pulling bedding away and moving belongings out of the way to entirely remove the bed in order to get to the water heater and pump, I sit down and shake my head.

This trailer will only be a year old in a few days.

Is this normal to have so much go wrong so soon?  I have barely used it.

This is the 3rd time since I hooked up to water on December 17th that I’ve had water seeping across the floor of the trailer, causing the framing to become soaked, my stuff to become soaked, and me to be completely “put out”  with a water crisis.

I think back to when I first arrived to Secret Spot on the 16th of December.  I had not been hooked up to water since leaving Secret Spot that previous April.  Before I left for home back then, everything was winterized and I dry camped all summer, up until now.  After innocently hooking everything up and expecting no issues, I walked into the trailer to discover water instantly came spraying out from the bathroom sink due to the faucet being accidently turned on.  I assumed all the water on the floor was due to that, but it seemed to also be coming from behind the wall under the bed—or maybe it just seems like it?  I decided to wait a day for Boy Scout Buddy to check things over before turning the water back on. 

I mopped up the water using every towel I have, turned on a fan to dry the floor and walls, and with a heavy sigh, tried to relax. 

The next day we inspect everything. All faucets are off, and Buddy says “go turn on the water”.  We test the hot, the cold, the bathroom sink, the kitchen sink, and everything seems fine.  And then I look down, to see water creeping across the floor from under the bed.  I open up the drawers located under the bed.

Sure enough it didn’t end there.  Water is gushing from under the bed where the water pump and hot water heater is (by the way, the bed is screwed in place and there are absolutely NO access panel to get to the area without completely removing the bed), filling the entire end of the trailer with over an inch of standing water, including the cargo storage area, and reaching all the way to the fridge. 

Once upon a time, there was a bed here....

Once upon a time, there was a bed here….

Everything in the drawers is soaked.  My $500 camera is soaked.  Clothes, shoes and all sorts of personal stuff–all soaked.  And in a gallant but unsuccessful effort to stop the madness, every towel I have is now soaked. 

Thankfully several neighbors come to the rescue with a Wet Vac and mechanical expertise.  Thankfully one of the neighbors, Greg, is in the business of working on RV’s.  They discover that not one, not two but three fittings need to be replaced from the hot water heater.   My bed is out on the picnic table.  Buddy has gone to the store for parts.  Greg is explaining to me how it’s crazy that there is no access panel to make investigation and repair easier, and I need to advise the manufacturer about this issue because it just plain shouldn’t be happening to a new unit.  And I am sucking up gallons of water with the Wet Vac. 

Not a dry towel in the place!

Not a dry towel in the place!


Buddy returns with parts and the two guys get to work while I am wringing out towels and belongings.  With fittings repaired, we’re good to go.  Buddy goes to turn the water back on.  Hmmm. It all looks good, no moisture coming from those new fittings!  I will have to keep fans on and air everything out at least a few days to prevent mold and rotting wood.

Then, I look down to see water coming from under the bathroom door, and into the kitchen area.  I open the bathroom door.

“Stop!  No!  Noooooo!  Turn it off!  Turn it off!”  I cry, as water is spraying from the connection behind the toilet.  Water has filled the bathroom floor and is spreading across the floor once again, and I am out of towels.   We discover that the fitting where the hose and the main valve is connected to the toilet is cracked—even though it’s a pinhole crack it has created monumental damage–neighbor Greg says that should never happen, it’s poor quality parts.  When they worked on the water pump we had no idea there was also an issue with the toilet.  After all, I don’t even use the toilet or shower, that room is my closet!  Now even more water is seeping across the trailer, even from under the kitchen sink.

“I can’t do this anymore!”  I cry, and ask them to create a permanent fix to not have to worry about this ever again.  We turn the water off, Buddy is back to the store for parts, and off comes the wood grill under the kitchen sink to mop up water.  Upon Buddy’s return, he and Greg cap off the water connection to the toilet, leaving the bad parts intact.

There will be no pee-ing in THIS closet!

There will be no pee-ing in THIS closet!

Problem solved, for now anyway.  Both men are advising me I absolutely must alert the manufacturer about these problems.  Yes, yes, I will, after I get things cleaned up, put back, and get through the holiday.  I don’t want to bother them over the holidays.  Why, oh why aren’t there shut off valves for every source of water into the trailer, anyway?

It was several days of a Wet Vac mess.   It was several days of fans blowing, trying to dry the floor, the walls, the framing.  It was several days of chaos in the trailer, until I could finally put things back together, find things, get things in order and settle down, now with virtually no time left to prepare for Christmas.

And now, January 15th, here I am in the middle of the night, standing in water once again.  But at least nothing is spraying.  And I have a bunch of new towels to work with.  But I am now exhausted. Time to get some rest!  Is that the sunrise?


Mid-Morning January 15th, 2014

Sleep deprived, I’m feeling like death warmed over.  Boy Scout Buddy saw my email from the wee hours of the morning, and has just arrived.  We pull the mattress out, unscrew the bed and take it apart, and examine the water situation.  I did a great job of sopping up the water under the bed. I became an expert in December, after all.  He notices a fitting to the water pump — pulls it off and then snaps it back on. 

“Go turn the water on and let’s see what we’ve got.” he says.  I do, then we test the water to the sinks, and everything looks good.  No water leaks around the water pump or water heater.  So far, so good. With everything taken apart more water seepage is exposed for me to wick away.  We’ve discovered the leaking made it into the cargo storage bin again so now everything stored there is out on the grass airing out.  There is mold forming on the inside wall that I will need to remove today.

We’re guessing the water pump fitting came loose and started a slow leak, but it’s hard to say.  I do know it’s time to contact the manufacturer.  The holiday is over.  In two days it will be a full calendar year since writing that first check toward purchasing my Riverside 25RPM Toy Hauler.  Not sure if I’m going to celebrate or cry.

It’s partly cloudy and 67 degrees.  We’re giving it a day or two to keep an eye on things, leaving my home in an upheaval for now.  Who needs comfort, access to things, or a bedroom, anyway? 

Good thing I have tents along!


20140101The Bucket List Part 2

Here we are again, with another New Year under our belts, looking at what we’re doing, reflecting back on what we’ve done, and evaluating our choices moving forward. Me, I’ve been examining how my new direction has been playing out.  Hello, 2014.  My life plan is rolling out quite nicely.  Happy New Year. 

No more reacting to the world around me, but instead, living with purpose. Letting go is difficult.  Change is scary. It’s not easy to leave one’s comfort zone, but I’ve done it. Having a life plan, and living with purpose provides a feeling of control over life, amidst all of the things we have no control over.  I am rewarded with a life filled with adventure, freedom and joy.

I continue to not be one to generate a “starting next year, I’m not going to ……” list, or the classic New Year’s Resolutions list.  Instead, I pause to look back and remind myself of the lessons learned the past year.  Things look a little different after doing a better job of taking charge of my life.  Taking heed to those lessons, and applying them forward, helps me to stay on track with my plan, with grace and humility.

Top 20 Lessons I’ve learned in 2013:

  1. With loss, whether material or emotional, there is always a gain somewhere to balance the blow; you just have to look deep enough to find it.
  2. Giving, for the sheer sake of ‘random act of kindness’ giving, is the only way to truly give of yourself.  The key to successful giving is to absolutely not expect anything at all in return.  Otherwise, you are not giving, but generating an “exchange” (clearly one sided), and if the receiving party is typical, chances are, you will be disappointed.
  3. The GPS isn’t always right.  Knowing how to read an actual map is priceless.
  4. In my case “Leap, and the net will appear.” has proved to be true every time I’ve  jumped.  Trust yourself, your instincts, your higher power, and the system. The net is not always easily identifiable, but it is always there.
  5. There is wealth of guidance, lessons and general information just waiting to be tapped into from the minds and hearts of those older than you.
  6. Some people are never going to agree with or understand you or your beliefs.  Rather than try to change them, their views, or their perceptions, walk away knowing you choose the high road.
  7. True kinship does not necessarily mean you need to maintain an ongoing active relationship with everyone in your world, but when you do come together it’s as though you were never gone.  Family is a relative term that can be used to describe people in your network as you see fit.
  8. If you’re doing all the initiating, it’s probably not a healthy situation.
  9. Recognizing harmful people and circumstances, accepting them as such and letting go early on, only saves you that much more energy for the wonderful people and experiences that enrich your life.  Health is everything, physical, emotional and mental.
  10. Letting go of things I thought I couldn’t live without, in order to start something I know I cannot live without, is not so hard after all.  Individual wants and perceptions often loose importance when considered against a Life Plan.  If it’s not part of the solution, it’s likely part of the problem.  Click. Gone. Done.
  11. Not all business opportunities are what they seem. If it feels like you’re going to get burned, you probably will.
  12. The power of “No.” It’s not just a negative word.  It is also an empowering, word that brings freedom, honesty, and can even strengthen and help others when used properly.  Never be afraid to “just say no”.
  13. No matter how you slice it, people choose to make time for what’s important to them.  Read between the lines.  Zero tolerance for excuses.
  14. Just because you can see the potential, doesn’t mean the other guys can.  Just because they can’t see it today, doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow.  If tomorrow comes and they refuse to look, chalk it up to another beautiful fantasy vision on your part, and move on.  You can’t want it “for” them, they have to want it for themselves, and not everyone does.
  15. Everything earthly is temporary.  Over reacting doesn’t change that.
  16. “Please” and “Thank You” are two of the most important, and seem to have become the least used phrases in the human language. Saying them can make a person’s day. Not saying them can end up ruining yours. Saying them and actually meaning them, not only shows respect and gratitude to the person you’re addressing, but demonstrates to them you are genuine, and appreciate their gestures.
  17. There are only 24 hours in a day.  It’s okay to plan some things for tomorrow.
  18. Forgive and Forget doesn’t work unless you do both parts.  If you can’t forget, you haven’t truly forgiven.  No one has the power to conquer the invisible wall, and it’s not fair to put one up. Tear down the wall and keep in mind, not forgiving is a very heavy burden to carry.
  19. There is always another way.  Always.
  20. Although it’s hard to imagine, 99% of everything is a choice. It all starts with choosing how you respond to what happens next. 

That said, I continue to approach things with enthusiasm, and conviction.  Sure, a few micro adjustments will be implemented along the way.  But I can say wholeheartedly that life is good, life is rich, with laughter, love and joy.  I am blessed with good health, wonderful people I love to pieces, opportunity that excites and inspires me, and a strong sense of self to power me forward fearlessly.

I wish this for everyone in 2014 and beyond.

Happy New Year!

Stay tuned, How To Create a Life Plan 101 is coming soon…