Archives for July 2014

Night And Day

The tent was up. The gear was arranged. The dogs were fed and laying low. My work was done. What else was there to do on a humid, Saturday night in July? The way I saw it, I had two choices; drive over to the Marina’s bar, try to meet new people in a noisy establishment, or stay put and figure out something else to do. Weighing the decision, I walked out to the lake, and sat on the end of a dock.

The sun is quickly sinking somewhere behind me, the trees and the clouds, taking with it the days light. I remain focused on looking out across the water and watch evening transform across the sky. Slowly, the moon and stars break out from the clouds in front of me, as the sky turns from light blue to dark. Watching the day evaporate away takes time–about 30 minutes. The waters are still, outside of a couple of fish splashes. A couple of stray coots are floating by, and we have a great conversation as they cautiously pass. The air is warm, the moon is full, and except for the bar noise traveling across the water, it is a perfect evening to reflect on how fortunate I am despite so much of what I see in my travels. How lucky I am to have the life I do. I wouldn’t change a thing.

As I lay there on the dock and watch shooting stars for hours, the gentle lapping of the water lulls me to total relaxation. I think to myself, “Self? This is a pretty cool place we found. Let’s get up early and watch the sun rise, too”.

So I did.

At 4:45 a.m. I sneak back down to that dock in my jammies to witness the birth of a new day. The water is still like glass. There isn’t even a hint of a breeze. All is silent as I watch an amazing show— the eastern sky transitioning from a slate blue black curtain to muted pinks and orange and yellow blended bands…one lone star hangs in the sky (I think it’s a satellite) and after a bit, a light smoky mist starts to roll across the water from both sides of me out to the middle of the lake. Then, a thin blade of electric pink appears between the center of the blue black curtain and the lightest pinkish hue of the skyline, and in slow motion the blade transforms into a glowing globe that rises up and melts away the dark sky and warms me like a great cup of coffee–which I am really wishing I had at the moment. What a spectacular way to spend the first minutes of the day. NightNDay

Now, I suppose things could have turned out far differently if I would have gone to that bar instead. But I’m not that girl, and I have no regrets.


Milk and Honey

It started the moment I saw the sign for Itasca State Park.  Memories came rushing back.  Sweet, happy memories of the time Dad and I pulled our little camper up to Itasca State Park for a week of fishing, playing on the beach, exploring the big forest, and tippy toeing across the trickling Headwaters of the great Mississippi River.  I was about 12 then.  Haircut from hell.  Long gangly legs.  Putting worms on hooks.  Picking gooseberries on the trails.  Swatting the bears away from camp with the broom.  Evolving into a hard core outdoorsperson at Dads side.   He would take me on our small Alumina Craft boat at night, Muskie fishing.  We would troll for Northern and Walleye during the day.  We would sit on the shore and cast for Sunfish.  Make pancakes on the Coleman Stove.  Oh, I was such a Daddy’s Girl.

Still am.  Always will be.

Dad was the kindest, most gentle, supportive, hardworking and funny man to ever live.  Everyone loved him.  His simple, calm, unassuming nature was infectious.   He was a man of integrity and honor.  He was a giving, caring, God fearing, blue collar, Union, working man who gave his all to provide for my mom and I.  He was my biggest role model.  Although he has been gone for 19 years, right now, I cannot stop thinking about my father.  It’s all fresh in my mind lately.  An awakening of melancholy emotions and thoughts.  I am consumed.

Dad, I miss you so much!

Dads parents

Dads parents

He never wanted to talk about his past, especially his time in the service.  He didn’t like to talk about the war.  But he did talk about his early days as a boy, in Ukraine, in “The Land of Milk and Honey”.  He had a dozen or so brothers and sisters.  His parents were farmers, and their family lived a simple, peasant farming life.  They worked hard in their fields.  But the soil was rich and they could grow almost anything!  Wheat, corn, potatoes, beets. There were cows, pigs and goats and it was a beautiful, lush countryside.

Dad and some of the family

Dad and some of the family

It was a peaceful, happy existence.  But then, in 1932 came the most volatile, terrible time for Ukrainians. They became controlled and murdered by the thousands, oppressed and starved by Soviet rule.  Many tried to flee the country.  While not many of his siblings were willing to leave, some were, including him.  Dad, with a heavy heart, escaped at age16 or so, and came to the United States,  enlisted, and fought in two wars.

He wouldn’t talk about those days, so I had to learn about it from others.  The most devastating piece of historical literature I’d ever been given as a young girl was a thin red paperback written in 1953, called The Golgotha of Ukraine.  The land rich with farming, “The Land of Milk and Honey”, became littered with malnourished bodies of Ukrainian peasants who were forced to turn over their crops to the “government”, eventually going hungry, starving, and dying of starvation.  Some of the people even became cannibalistic.  And the outcry during and after the horrific famine slaughter was; “why didn’t the USA step in and help?”

I pulled out my little red book today, and paged through the eyewitness accounts of Soviet reality, wondering how in the world it could have happened.

Excerpt from page 5:

“This was a time when Litvinov (1930’s Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs) succeeded in persuading our American government that it was possible to do business with Stalin.  Our press in those days one recalls, was full of glowing anticipations on how many billions of dollars of profits America could make in trading with Russia.  Naturally these anticipations were based on empty promises being made by the Soviets in order to gain American recognition of the Soviet Union.

This was the time too, when such a well-known  American newspaperman as Walter Duranty of the New York Times reported from Moscow, upon his return from a trip through famine-ravaged Ukraine, that he saw no cases of starvation in Ukraine, ‘only some cases of malnutrition’!

Page 45

Page 45

Excerpt from page 6:

“The fault for this deplorable situation lies squarely on the shoulders of those liberal “liberals” of those “experts” who then had considerable influence on public opinion concerning “Russia”. Even today, some of them still consider themselves as “experts” and do everything in their power to prevent the American people from knowing the truth about the Soviet Russian reality, about the traditional Russian Imperialism clad currently in Soviet garb.”  Dr. Luke Myshuha.

But that was all many, many years and generations ago.  Most people today probably don’t even recall anything about what happened overseas in the beautiful Land of Milk and Honey in the 30’s. At least we seem to have a much clearer picture of Russia’s “culture and capabilities” today.

Let’s hope.

Yet, now, here Ukraine is again, in another violent upheaval.  I wonder if Dad knows?  Does he hover over his nieces and nephews–my cousins—trying to protect them in spirit?

Suddenly, despite not having connections with my overseas family, I am scared.  Scared for them.   Wondering how this could be happening.   I am so sorry Dad, that more conflict and chaos has been dropped across the Land of Milk and Honey.  Thank God that you are not here to see it happening– the worry and concern would surely be the thing to take your life.  Thank God that you didn’t wake up one day when I was a kid and say to mom and me; “hey, I miss my family, let’s go live in Ukraine!”  Oh, thank God that didn’t ever happen!

If I stop and allow myself to think about it, lord my head spins, unable to rationalize any of the violence and separatism.  I won’t even begin to say I understand what is going on over there, or stand behind any of it, or wish to become a part of it, because I don’t.  But I do have to wonder if any of the people of Ukraine ever saw this little red book I’ve got in my hands.

Excerpt from page 7:

“Perhaps this brochure will be of aid to Americans of Ukrainian birth or descent in their endeavors to make their fellow Americans and the American Government itself truly realize the menace of Russian Imperialism, in whatever garb it may appear, not only to Ukraine and other Soviet Russian enslaved nations, but to the free world and America as well.”  Dr. Luke Myshuha.

Well, what about the people actually living in Ukraine?  Do any of them remember how things were back in the 30’s, under Soviet rule?  The shallow ditches and wooden carts, heaping full of bodies?  I am guessing not.  Otherwise, how could this dividing of an otherwise peaceful people even happen?  With the oppression, censorship and simple freedoms that whole part of the world has been deprived of so many years, their perspective must be skewed and far from accurate.  They learn a very different history than what we do in the United States.

Truthfully, it is also frightening to realize how far removed our own Countries’ thinking has strayed of late.  Perhaps we are not that far away from our own undoing.

I am so grateful for my dad, and the many brave men and women over the course of my life and even before, that

Dad in the United States Army.

Dad in the United States Army.

have stood and fought to protect our freedoms as Americans, as well as assisted in protecting and securing liberty for others.   Perhaps that experience is what shaped him into being the compassionate and caring father I cherished.

My heart breaks, knowing I could still have family in Ukraine.

My heart breaks, realizing I may no longer have family Ukraine.

My heart breaks, missing my dad.

Tomorrow would have been your birthday.  Happy 95th Birthday, Dad.  I know you are walking the fields of a far better Land of Milk and Honey.

Ouch, A Rejection Letter!

It keeps happening.  You apply for a job, knowing you are perfectly suited for it, but you are passed over.  Sure, it’s typical to not hear a word, but when you actually see it in writing…‘thanks, but no thanks’…well….how demoralizing, right?

As a firm believer in limitless possibilities, I challenge you. What if you tried looking at rejection differently?  Here is an excellent perspective I came across recently, written by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran. She is the founder of New Chapter New Life, is a career coach, speaker and author of an ebook called, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

“How to Act After Getting A Rejection Letter

We all hate rejection. It makes us feel bad that someone doesn’t really like or want us. When you see you’ve been rejected in black and white it’s can take the wind out of our sail as a job seeker.

After we get a rejection letter and recover our balance the tendency is to shy away from that company, those people and maybe even that type of job. It can and often does, change our behavior and often not in a way that serves us well. Don’t let that be you.

Let’s look at a rejection letter first and then what your actions and behavior should be following a rejection letter.

What Does A Rejection Letter Really Mean?

If you made it through all of the screening process as a candidate, you are obviously well qualified for the position you pursued. It also means you’re doing a lot of things right in your job search to get this far. Keep doing the right things.

A rejection doesn’t mean you were a poor candidate, it means they felt more aligned with someone else. You never know how difficult the decision may have been between you and someone else. They had to make a decision and it could have come to something like a coin toss simply so they could move forward. They had to pick someone.

It means they thought well of you and despite any negative thoughts you might have about them, they’re feeling just fine about you.

The door on future opportunities is not closed. In fact, now that they know you so well, you could be considered for other openings. It’s more productive to utilize the applicant flow you have rather than dumping all the resumes and interview information than to start over again the next time.

The fact that the company went so far as to send you a rejection letter is a sign of a well run company.

So, often these days, the job search is a black hole of communications. If they thought enough of their candidates to do this level of follow up, you want to keep them on your radar.

What Should Your Behavior Be?

If you loved the position, hiring manager, and company then keep working at getting hired for a position. Just because they rejected you for this position doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be perfect for the next one. It’s not a door closer. You now have a list of “insider” contacts that you can use to your advantage.

After you let the dust settle for a while, circle back around with your contacts and let them know you want to be considered for other positions now or in the future. Showing some spunk and confidence is alluring and memorable. Keep your perspective about what this means.

A rejection letter shouldn’t cause you to change what you are doing unless this letter makes it a cool dozen you’ve received. If you have repeatedly got to the final round of interviews and not chosen, then rethink how you might be presenting yourself.

Sure, you’re going to feel rejected for a while after you get a rejection letter. Go indulge and yourself today then get over it and keep doing all the right things that got you this far.”

Job searchers would be wise to heed these words of wisdom from Dorothy Tannahill-Moran. Always get contact information from the individuals responsible for the hiring process so you are able to keep in touch with them.  And once again, although I may be sounding like a broken record, please try to remember….There is only one you, and you have great value!  Rejection is not always about you!  Always be positive and at your best!

PR Brady AdVentures is ready, reasonable, and available to help you with your job search process. Message me today.


Buddy – A Series Of Adventures – Chipper!

I heard it too, Buddy.  The sharp “chirp, chirp, chirp!” from somewhere on the wood pile.   You look at me with a furrowed brow, then towards the woodpile.  The girls are equally intrigued by the familiar noise.  Angel rises to full alert.  Sunny Girl jumps up and takes one step towards the wood pile. That’s your cue. ChipperBud You raise your tired body up, and with your best effort, limp over to the wood pile, determined to get that Chipper!

All hell breaks loose.  Not much compares to the dedicated frenzy of 3 dogs in hot pursuit of one, striped gopher.  Relentless sniffing, scruffing, scratching and scouring the entire wood pile for the slightest glimpse of Chipper.  These up north Chippers seem to enjoy the chase.  They taunt and tease, and are flirting with disaster, for sure.

Remember the first time we had “Chipper score” in the yard?  What a day!  You had not been with us very long.  Angel and Sunny Girl were still sizing you up. Clearly you had been telling them stories in dog speak about your amazing natural ability to hunt, probably bragging that I would be taking you hunting everywhere once we were done with training.  Clearly that’s what you were doing.  Why else would Angel have gone “Rambo”?

The four of us were relaxing in the back yard that day.  The girls would climb up on your training table ramps, determined to command my attention.  You were playing it cool, not giving them any reaction. Then in a single bound you would be across the yard, on top and center of the almost three foot high table, wagging your tail as if to say;

“There! That will show them! I am king of this table!”  The two blonde dust mops would scramble back down the ramps and under the swing.

Angel was always annoyed by you.  You, the big, dark colored, over-zealous boy dog.  She would lie across the yard, staring at you, waiting for just the right moment to go after you.  And you would try to engage her in a game of “chase me, hairball, I bet you can’t catch me.”  Of course she would take the bait.  You would run tight circles in the yard with her hot on your heels, just out of nipping reach.  You would strategically slow down, giving her a false feeling of victory, then, put on the booster dash and leave her in the dust.

Angel 033Angel fancied herself as the family Alpha, even back then. But you were bigger than her, faster than her, you could jump higher than her, and seemed to have an obnoxious special bond with her human.  Of course she wanted to kick your butt.

You were gliding across the yard with ease.  She was digging in hard on the turns, grunting and growling, teeth showing, getting very close to catching your back leg when suddenly a sharp “chirp, chirp, chirp!” rang out from the shed.

Bam!  Three dogs immediately dash to the shed.  Angel dives into the brush on the back side, Sunny Girl tip toes around the front, and you are racing back and forth in excitement.  With long blonde hair tossing wildly, and ferocious yips and growls, Angel demands the Chipper to show himself.  You are darting back and forth, not sure how to be included on the front line, but very sure you should not overstep Angel.  The Chipper decides to make a run for it from the edge of the wood pile, and bursts out like a bullet towards the garden.  Angel pounds the earth with all fours, digging in hard, grunting, growling, teeth showing, sprinting after the critter.  You politely dart to the right to head him off, causing the Chipper to veer back towards Angel.  She leaps into the air just as the chipper swerves her direction and grabs it by the neck.

What happened next? Well let’s just say she dispatched the animal.  When it stopped moving in her death grip jaws, Angel carried it across the yard, laid it down in the grass in front of her, and sat back like a sphinx, reveling in all her glory.

Buddy, the look on your face was priceless.  Dazed and confused.  How in the world could that useless dust mop successfully nab that Chipper? After all, she’s a girl.

Yes indeed she is our good girl.  Angel commanded the first harvest of you siblings, and in our own back yard!

You were in awe of your sister.  You slowly moved over to where she laid like a sphinx with her trophy, and sat down in front of her the way Subjects bow to their Queen.

All this while, Sunny Girl had been guarding the shed front.  Realizing something was up; she sprang over to Angel, and came to an abrupt stop.  Carefully she sniffed out the expired Chipper, eyed her sister, then slowly backed up and sat next to you, joining you in respect and reverence.

Angel basked in the glory of her harvest for hours, occasionally nudging the limp critter on the ground, then glancing around to see who might be bearing witness to her achievement.  I finally had to request permission to remove the “evidence”.  She begrudgingly obliged.

Buddy21Jul14 006Our lives changed that day.  She made her point, secured her pack position, and it inspired you to become the amazing hunting machine I’ve been so fortunate to walk the fields with the last decade.

We are an outdoors family.  But you are still the master hunter of the house even now, dear Buddy.





There he is again!

Look, guys, another one!

Get the Chippers!!!!




It’s not easy to watch someone suffer, whether it’s a person or a pet.  At least to some degree, a person can tell you how they feel, or give you feedback on what’s working and what’s not.  A dog is only going to look at you with adoration, attention, expectation, and unconditional willingness to please, even when they can’t.

So it is with Buddy.  The mass on his left shoulder is growing, and his leg is drooping farther. His homemade boot is just not enough.   He wants to move.  He wants to run.  He tries.  Every right legged hop-step he takes jolts his bad shoulder and leg.  It puts me to tears.  I cannot afford to take more drastic measures, nor do I want to put him through that rigorous process. It would not extend his life. What quality of life would he have for the short time he has left?  If he could just have some support on that left side.  I search and search online, looking for solutions, and come up with nothing.  Why isn’t there a chest harness out there designed for supporting a “shoulder injury”?

And then I looked at the Thundershirt.

It’s a soft, thin, stretchy fabric body wrap you can tighten as needed.  It wraps across the entire torso and captures both shoulders snugly in place with Velcro.  While the purpose of the Thundershirt is to calm a dog experiencing general fearfulness, leash pulling, incessant barking, crate or separation anxiety, or anxiety due to storms, fireworks, travel, or if the dog is just plain manic, the actual design of the shirt could be just what we’re looking for. After explaining our situation, and confirming with our local Petsmart they had the shirts in stock, Buddy and I were on our way to the store.

We hadn’t been shopping together in a very long time.  Tail up, head up, ears perked, he knew right where he was.  Hello Petsmart!  The land of endless treats, crotches, pooches, and amazing, euphoric smells.  What a happy dog.

The folks at Petsmart were so very kind and helpful.  They had several shirts waiting for us at the front of the store so we wouldn’t have to spend Buddy’s limited energy trying to find them.  Buddy was so cooperative, and loved the attention. Two associates helped us figure out how to properly fit him. We tried on several sizes to zero in on the best results for our unique requirements.  We tried pulling the shirt over to the left side to more fully enclose the lame shoulder, leaving his right shoulder more free.  The minute we had the large camo style wrapped around his sweet frame, Buddy melted onto the floor in a puddle.

“I think this is the one.”  I said.

“Why don’t you walk around the store with him in it for a while to be sure it’s doing what you need.”

“Well, thank you so much!”

What an incredibly kind gesture by the employee.  Buddy looked up at me, perfectly relaxed and content to stay there on the ground in his shirt.

“Treats?  Treats, Baby?”

He was standing in a flash.  Off we go for a test walk.

His first steps were clumsy and gingerly placed, as he looked up at me with worry in his big brown eyes as if to ask; ‘What is this thing hugging my body?’

But within a few minutes, he relaxed into it, and seemed to not even notice it was there. The Thundershirt gently held his shoulders together, making his limp far less exaggerated.  The shirt, combined with his homemade boot, seemed to help redistribute the weight and decrease the pain he was feeling.  He bounded up and down several isles, sniffing the merchandise, flirting with a couple fine girl dogs, and showing off to other humans what a good boy he is.  He even went on full point at the canaries!  We canvassed the store, ending up with a cart full of dog food and a few special treats.  He could have gone another round—he was a happy, not to mention relaxed, dog.  And I was a happy customer.

Just like when I would go grab the E-collar, Buddy perks up to attention when I reach for his Thundershirt.  Instantly at my side, he knows it means we’re going on an adventure together, and stands ready to be fitted into it.  I am so grateful for the Thundershirt.  It takes away some of his pain, makes it easier for him to walk, calms him in the process, and is extending what is left of our quality Thunder 074time together.


We’ll take those small miracles where we can find them.  Thank you, awesome Thundershirt makers!





Angles Curves and Mounds Part 1

Being behind the wheel of my truck pulling the Toy Hauler down the road, always feels so darn adventurous!  And wow, this time, I’m not the only human in the cab!  Cindy and I are on our way up north, where we will drop my trailer for the remainder of the summer. Buddy is curled up on half the back seat, Angel on top of the luggage on the other half, and Sunny Girl is between us, riding high on the CD bag. There’s something about the way we all seem to just fit.

Us girls always have a million things to talk about. Good thing the journey up north is almost 4 hours north.  Add another hour for pulling, and another hour for stops.  Six hours later, we finally arrive to the lake property. We were just up here a few weeks ago, measuring, calculating, weed whacking, and preparing for this trip.  The moment of truth has arrived—can I park my toy hauler on this property?

curves 005We stop about 75 yards before reaching her driveway to take a breath and talk through what is about to happen.  Droves of mosquitos are buzzing the windshield and windows.  We will surely die if we step out of the vehicle.

The entrance to this lakefront space is tree lined all the way in about 30 feet long, then it opens up to the “yard”.  That 30 foot dirt and grass driveway is on a pretty steady downhill grade, and barely 10 feet wide the whole way.  The main road is narrow as well, and there is no shoulder—the tar simply ends and the heavy foliage begins.  A large tree right at the entrance holds their wooden welcome signs, making this the most challenging effort yet for me to maneuver the truck and trailer in straight enough to not sideswipe the woods or signs.

If I veer too far over to the right, I’ll be off the tar road into who knows what.  If I don’t swing wide enough, it will be an absolute cluster to reposition for another go at it.

Cindy bravely gets out to help direct me. Clouds of blood sucking vultures commence a full throttle attack, and I quickly toss her a can of spray.   I watch her motion me forward and point and, it occurs to me, I have to just trust my own judgment and do what feels right.  I begin inching down the road, veering as far right as I dare, when suddenly I realize I need to remove my sway bar.

“Cindy!  I need to pull off the sway bar!”  I call out the car window.  ARGHHHH damn mosquitos!

I get out, get attacked, get sprayed, and we remove the sway bars together.  Jump back in and swat mosquitos in the truck.  Okay.  Now we’re rolling.  I get back to creeping down the road, my passenger tires now off the tar.  Cindy is worried and motioning me, but I ignore her.  I almost pass the driveway entrance, then swing hard left into the driveway, about 2 inches from their welcome sign.  Whoa, I pull the mirrors in, and creep down that narrow driveway.  She is hollering “You’re good!  You’re good!  Keep coming! Keep coming!”

To our amazement I was able to swing wide enough to squeak in on the first try!  That was the most rewarding experience ever since owning the Toy Hauler.

I got that monster into her narrow driveway.  It barely took an hour.


She praised my efforts.  We laughed at how I didn’t listen to her. I pulled in so tight to the woods on the left I had to crawl out the passenger side. We took a break and unloaded dogs into the cabin before tackling the next phase.

Break is over.  We walk around the yard again, re-evaluating how and where to park.  Our calculations were pretty spot on.  The tough part would be turning the 40 foot worth of rig all the way around this yard to face uphill on the other side of the yard, plus back it tight enough against the brush.  Now my truck was pointing downhill to the lake, with 6 thousand pounds behind it pushing it forward.  Oh, and by the way, this narrow yard has a few little obstacles in it; like trees, a shed, a power pole a drop off….need I say more?curves 003

Cindy thinks I should be able to back up between the antenna structure and power pole, an opening about 12 feet across.  I am completely daunted at the idea of it and stall, trying to think of something better.  I re-measure and position blue tarps the entire width and length of the toy hauler to mark exactly where to park. It will serve as a target. It will help with weed and bug control too, as well as hopefully ward off torrential rains from sinking the wheels into the ground.

Truthfully, I was about out of gumption with maneuvering my trailer, so when Cindy asked if she could take a stab at positioning it on the tarps I was all for it.  She climbed in the driver seat, and decided to try backing between the poles.  Although she claimed to not be experienced with backing big trailers, she rolled with great confidence and minimal instructions from me.  Her efforts took about an hour, pulling forward, backing, slowly angling, pulling forward, back a little angle, until finally the Toy Hauler was backed along the side of the house, between those two immovable structures.

But there was less than 2 feet of play on either side, meaning it would not be so simple to just pull straight forward onto the tarps.  But we tried, and now it was my turn again.

I was able to pull out from the poles, but it caused the trailer to completely miss the mark on the tarps.  Cindy was right there, ready to guide me in.

“Pull forward!  Turn a little! Back up back a little!  You’re good, keep coming…now back up! Turn the wheel! Turn! Now pull forward, swing it wide left!  Left!  LEEEFFFFTTTT!”

“I can’t—I’m in the woods!  I’ll scratch the hell out of everything!”

I back acurves 004 little, pull forward……OH SHIT THE TREE!  In come the mirrors.  It’s been over an hour.  I get out and survey the situation.  I can’t pull forward to straighten out the trailer because the clearing curves around the building which is in the way.  I have to swing wider to the left, but we didn’t cut and clear enough woods for me to do that.  We get the tools out and chop away more woods for half an hour.

“Cindy?  Your turn again, girl!”  And she jumps behind the wheel like a pro.  After another hour of backing, swinging wide, and pulling forward, the trailer is positioned to back straight onto the tarps.  Curves 002I take the helm for this last piece, and inch back onto the blue.

“You’re good!  Stop!”

I get out and check my levels.  OMG, the trailer is completely not level—not only is this property on a downhill grade, but the sides angle to the center.  I need to raise the passenger side about 12 inches to have a rat’s ass chance at leveling.  Not only that, my levelers will not be long enough to reach the ground on the right side; I will need to put something under there as well.

With Cindy behind the wheel again, I prepare to drop boards for the wheels to roll up onto.  She has never seen this done, and is somewhat hesitant, but if there is one thing I do know how to do, its level my Toy Hauler. It only takes a few tries to get wheels up on the boards.

“OK Stop! Stop! Stop!”

In just over 4 hours, Cindy and I have successfully parked my Toy Hauler on this property.curves 165


“Oh, hell yes!”

“Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?”

“Oh so much fun.  I know I will never ever own one of these. Ever.”

Long silence.

“You gonna unhook now?”

“No, I don’t think so.”


Long silence.

Our eyes meet.  Big breaths.  Heavy sighs.

Our shared looks of hot, bug bitten, exhausted victory melt into distain.

Oh, shit. The sad truth of the matter is that we will be pulling my Toy Hauler out of here in the morning up to Bemidji, to have the fridge serviced.

The adventure continues………………………………….




This is an “eyeballing” recipe—notice, there are no measurements.    But the outcome is yummy, so go ahead, be brave and wing it with me on this one! The chicken is super tender, the rice is a healthy alternative to pasta, and the veggies in tomato sauce bring the two together perfectly.  I use a rice cooker and a George Forman Grill to ensure results easily and timely.  Feel free to use what is most comfortable for you—being aware to adjust timing accordingly.

Two large chicken breasts, split
1 bottle Italian Seasonings
1 bottle crushed Basil Leaves
1 bottle Garlic Powder
1 bottle EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 package fresh sliced mushrooms (or whole ones that you slice)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 16 oz can tomato sauce
Approximately 2 cups long grain rice

First thing in the morning:

  • Take a shallow glass baking dish and pour enough EVOO to coat the chicken in (for me that usually means a solid coating across the bottom, then I dredge the breasts in it several times to coat the meat).
  • Place the split breast pieces in the oil and dredge both sides until well coated.
  • Shake a generous coating of the 3 seasonings onto the breasts.
  • Flip breasts and repeat coating with the seasonings.
  • Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for the day.

One half hour before mealtime:

  • Start the rice in the rice cooker.
  • Turn on George Foreman Grill, give it a light spray of PAM and set on medium heat.
  • Place onion and mushrooms in a large skillet.

Timing is everything—the rice should take about 25 minutes, the chicken should take about 15 minutes, and the onions and mushrooms should take about 10 minutes.

Once the rice is close to done:ItaliChicken

  • One by one, pick up the chicken breasts, and allow excess oil to drip into the vegetable skillet, placing chicken on the George Forman on a medium heat setting.
  • Transfer remaining seasoned oil into the skillet, scraping as much of the oil and herbs onto the veggies as possible, and prepare to sauté vegetables.
  • Sauté veggies until tender and turn down heat to low.  Stir tomato sauce into skillet and heat through.
  • Plate one piece of chicken breast on a bed of rice, and cover with the tomato mixture.


Serves 4

To Show, Or No Show?

First thing Monday morning I called the Bemidji RV service store hoping to secure an appointment for my malfunctioning fridge.  The man on the phone said they were backed up two weeks.

“But…but….all my food will go bad!”

“Can you get here right away? Maybe we can sneak you in.”

“Oh, thank you!  I am about 40 miles away.  I’ll leave right now!”

After spending over two stressful hours trying to maneuver the Toy Hauler around the shed and through the narrow curved “driveway” out onto the narrow tar road, I finally made it to the RV dealer. It was almost noon and the place was packed.  Surely they thought I stood them up.  They had no idea what a nightmare this newbie went through to get there.  But they didn’t question, or turn me away.  They smiled, welcomed me, and serviced my rig.  It got me to thinking about a LinkedIn comment someone posted, clearly in response to an incident he’d experienced.

“Have you ever been stood up for a meeting that was secured in advance and confirmed shortly before?  What about after traveling a great distance to get there?  How did you handle it?”

Unfortunately, yes I have driven the distance for a no-show, (have been cancelled on, underpaid, not paid, not called back and have been generally disrespected) a time or two over the years.  Ah, the feeling of deflation to arrive to the front desk, state your name, company and who you are there to see, only to be told, “I’m sorry, but John’s not in today, he took the day off.”

He decided this overnight?  After we confirmed via email yesterday?  And he couldn’t let me know?  When I drove 3 hours to get here?

How positively infuriating!  How rude!  How dare he? Gawd, what’s wrong with me that he’d do that?

As important as we think we are, not everything is about us.  Not everything that happens is because of us.  Most things that happen to us have nothing directly to do with us, and would happen with or without us.  We just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.  There are many others in the same boat with you.  If you were to stop and ask 10 strangers on the street the same question, seven of them or more would have similar stories.

Don’t take it personal when the bad thing happens to you.

The malevolent people in the world would pick on you, your neighbor, the other guy or whoever was closest at the time exactly the same way.  And the truth is, the poor sorry sack of stuff who simply didn’t show, will never experience the kind of joy in life that people experience when they live a respectful, authentic life.  How could they?

So, first and foremost, consider the source, knowing what goes around comes around.

But of course, not everyone blows off meetings for the sheer fun of it.   How do you tell the difference? We can control our own behavior.  We cannot control others.  The good news is, though, we can control how we respond to theirs. It is so important to take a breath, and reserve judgment until you have enough information.

You don’t know the other guys story.  Maybe he was raised without being taught about respecting others, and he stands up everyone without giving it a second thought.  Or maybe he stood you up because his house just burned down and he lost the dog and the wife skipped town with the kids while he was being diagnosed with a horrible kidney disease.  Either way, it has nothing to do with you.  You are simply the nameless, faceless, receiver.  His main concern is not you, how far you drove, how long you planned, what you gave up to give time to him, or any of it. You are, actually, somewhat irrelevant to his situation.

Still, you want to feel whole.  You want to feel like you matter.  “Awkward” doesn’t even begin to describe how difficult it can be to request an explanation from a stranger who dissed you. But with a little effort, you can determine if your No Show was an insensitive act, or an unavoidable incident.

The Genuine Situation—you immediately know circumstances were beyond their control when they proactively reach out to you, and openly, fully express remorse about missing the appointment, asking for forgiveness and a reschedule.  Usually.  Almost always.  Unless the person is a true “player”.  But we don’t want to go there, right?  People are basically good….keep repeating it….people are basically good…

They wanted to meet with you.  They perceive you as having something of value.  Perhaps they confused their schedule and didn’t realize “today was our meeting!” until your call or email after the fact.  Either way, you will be provided an honest, valid reasoning why they didn’t show up.

The Unintentional Game Player—this person may have tried to reach you, long after you headed out to see them, but it’s a 50/50 at best.  The issue is they don’t perceive you as part of their day-to-day, even if they do think you have something of value, so you are not necessarily on their radar to communicate with when plans change.  Or maybe they scheduled the meeting because they are “expected” to, and then use other circumstances as an excuse to not show. “Oh, was that today?  Oh well, something came up.” They are pulled in many directions. Consequently, they are not open to sharing details, or circumstances behind why they didn’t show.  It’s not a big deal to them. They don’t consciously recognize the effort involved for you to get to them. They will likely not offer an explanation, but make assumptions like “well, Jane can stop in any time when she is coming through town.”

As though you are routinely coming through John’s town.  Ha!

The Intentional Player—sometimes known as the “bigger than life” personality.  The world revolves around them. They answer to no one.  You are just another vendor, basically an annoyance, and underserving of their time, courtesy or respect.  A rare few may actually schedule appointments simply to look like they have them.  If something else comes up, they’ll disregard your appointment without a second thought—it was probably never on their books.  Maybe they enjoy toying with vendors to see how bad they want the business. If you should happen to arrive late, they will “not be available”, regardless of how hard it was to get there, and not make use of the limited time you do have remaining. They never had any intention of keeping your meeting.  They will not offer an explanation for their No Show—and if they do give one, it will likely not be particularly truthful.


With the amazing technology we have today, there really is no excuse for a No Show from either party.  Granted there are always exceptions.  But if you do experience a No Show, here are some things you can do to feel whole and move on.  First off,

Let it go, and know it’s not about you.

Trust your gut.  From what you feel, do you think the person is a player or not?

Decide how bad you want that business.

You will have to reach out to them.  When you do so, leave a message but also get it in writing:

  • Make it clear you were there for the agreed upon meeting:

Dear John,

When I arrived to your offices on Monday July 7th at 8:00 am I was disappointed to learn you were not available for our meeting.  The receptionist at the front desk could not offer any explanation.

Besides being “documentation”, this calls out who you are, and that you were indeed there, in case John really is being inundated with meetings and lost sight of yours in the process.  If something has happened to John, whoever is checking his messages will see your email.

  • Express genuine concern at their absence

Because this has never happened before, frankly I am concerned for you.  Is everything okay?  What happened?  I hope nothing serious.

Although it’s awkward to reach out to strangers, you don’t actually know at this point if you’ve been played or not. Being genuinely concerned is never something to be embarrassed or ashamed about—we are all human, and this gesture could soften even a player’s heart…..or at least get you a response from his gatekeeper.

  • Mention any names that will trigger them to recall the meetings importance

As a courtesy, I have let Bill and Lisa know that we have not been able to meet, so they can adjust their schedules accordingly, as well as work with your back office team on how to move forward until we can meet.

If other people are involved as part of the reason for your meeting, this will bring top of mind awareness that you’re not the only one they left hanging, and perhaps your meeting should be moved higher up on the importance scale.

  • Provide an alternative plan

Currently, the next time I will be in your area is the week of   xxxxxxxx.  I would be happy to reschedule an appointment with you during that time. 

For now, don’t put all your eggs in this basket. If possible, only offer to reschedule several weeks out, and at YOUR convenience, and only if you have additional business to conduct or reasons to be in the area. This will show you aren’t instantly available and waiting to be duped again, as well as prevent spending another wasted day on the road. Once you are able to determine if there is real interest to keep the meeting, you can decide if it warrants a more immediate response.

  • Leave the ball in their court

Assuming you are still interested in pursuing the best solution for “widget companies”, I look forward to hearing back from you shortly with suggestions for rescheduling our meeting.

Again, I do hope all is well with you and yours.

This gently questions their initial intent, and closes with a lingering sentiment of care for their wellbeing. If the relationship was meant to be, you should be getting a call or email back.  If you hear nothing back, you may want to re-evaluate how bad you want to do business with this person, or company for that matter.

Thank goodness No Shows are the exception, and not the rule.

On my wall hangs a simple mantra:  “Life is Good.  Business is Great.  People are Terrific.  And Don’t You Forget It!”

Need help with your teams’ ability to set, keep and close appointments?  Contact PR Brady AdVentures for a custom program designed to meet your company’s needs.

Tree In The Breeze

“Spread your toes wide.  Feel your left foot become weightless, as it rises up to rest on your inner thigh.  Hands held to heart center.  Now breathe……focus your breath on one tiny spot, as you grow your branches tall, taller, reaching to the sky, you are the tree…..breathe….. “

My Practice has become an addiction.  Somehow, I cannot go without Yoga.  It’s just stretching, right?  Oh, so wrong!  Yoga is far more than stretching.  It is a celebration of, or an affirmation of, respect for self.  My time on the mat.  Yoga is time that I have consciously chosen to dedicate to my own wellbeing.  Time that all else takes a back seat to.  I empty my mind, and breathe.  Aches and pains go away.  Irritating issues and people go away.  It all disappears in one, mindful hour of Yoga Practice.

Who’da thunk?

After several months of daily group Yoga hours, I am able to confidently continue my Practice solo, at home, or virtually anywhere.  Now that I am spending time up north on the lake, a new favorite place to practice is on the dock at sunrise. YogaRise1

Oh, what a quasi-cosmic-religious-spiritual experience!

Typically, sunrise is a hauntingly calm time on the water.  The lake is almost like glass as the pink and orange horizontal sliver of light slowly evolves into a band, and rises into a hot yellow globe. Above me lingers a beautiful crescent moon, shining bright against the morning sky. To dedicate time to, and witness this glorious beginning of a new day practicing Yoga, somehow fills my being with a sense of empowerment, wholeness and revitalized appreciation of life.

“We’re here now. In the moment. On the dock.”

It is a peaceful, wondrous morning, with Coyote Oldman’s Thunderchord playing in the background, and traveling softly across the lake.  There is a light intermittent breeze, just enough to enhance the refreshed feeling throughout several Sun Salutations.  An ever so gentle breeze, barely moving the waters.  “Halfway lift, exhale and fold, hands on the mat, and downward… facing… dog.”

Warrior Two stance; a position of strength and power.  I celebrate the morning like a warrior, ready to deal with whatever comes my way.  I have dedicated this practice to my dog, wishing him strength and peace as he deals with cancer.  I, too, find peace and strength, on the mat.  “Windmill arms to the ground, high to low plank, little cobra, and downward….facing….dog.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Step to the top of the mat, slowly rise, and position for Tree pose.”

I feel my left foot become weightless, as it rises up to rest on my inner thigh.  Hands held to heart center, I breathe……focus my breath on one tiny spot as I grow my branches tall, taller, reaching to the sky, I am the tree…..I am the willow tree…..breathe… the moment….we are here now…..

The gust of wind blasted the dock hard, quick and without warning.

Whoaaaaaa, tipping… tipping… trying to hold balance, pull it together as the dock sways hard, and I am tipping…….tipping over, lost balance, tripping over….ooooooooooooooooover and


I fall sideways into the lake.  This tree has crashed.

Cool waters shock me into a new present moment, as I am flailing, thrashing, trying to determine which way is up.  Calm down, relax, you know how to swim.  This is nothing.  I focus on the fact that I am not breathing, and that’s ok, and exhale all of the air from my chest, feeling my body begin to sink, feet first.

My knee bumps something hard.

I realize I am in waist high water.  I stand and look down.

Namaste, fishes.



Da Gorilla Boot

The pet industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade or more.  There are dozens of mail order catalogs, upscale pampered pet stores, and a Petsmart and Petco in every major city across the country.  There seems to be an endless variety of products in all flavors, colors, shapes and sizes, to address virtually anything a dog may need.  That is, unless it pertains to medically focused products.

As my boy continues to be consumed by Osteosarcoma, the tumor grows larger, weighing on his deteriorating shoulder bone, causing pain, and he is beginning to drag his left front paw.  Apparently this type of cancer is common with dogs, especially as they age.  Still, outside of amputation, nothing really exists except drugs to help cope with the condition as it slowly worsens.  It breaks my heart, watching him limp around, trying to carry on as though nothing is wrong.  I’ve tried to keep him off tar, cement, and gravel surfaces, but it’s not always possible. He has started wearing the fur on the top of his foot and toenails down, causing “rug burn” sores.  So, I went searching for some affordable, protective footwear for dogs.

Surprisingly, there is not much available in terms of protective footwear for a dog in my dogs condition.  Sure, there are some sporty looking hiking boots that run about $50 for a good set. They are designed to protect the bottom of the dogs feet from rough terrain, but when it comes to the prospect of dragging a foot across the ground, there just doesn’t seem to be anything out there that is going to survive more than a few walks before it’s worn through.  And for that price point, it puts them out of range for us.

So we had an arts and craft day, and I came up with a low cost, effective solution.

Introducing “Da Gorilla Boot” for Buddy. ???????????????????????????????

I have to start off by saying, Gorilla Tape is a girl’s best friend.  Goodness knows how many times I’ve used it for one project or another around the house! Of course it would be my first choice in materials for my boy’s special needs. After much thought and analysis, I carefully formed a sleek, heavy duty boot the size of his foot with Black Gorilla Tape, adding extra layers of tape on the side that drags.  It slips on snugly, ties at the top, and stays on fairly well for our mediocre short walks.  It’s smooth enough to not catch on anything, and I even created a small ventilation hole on the side that does not hit the ground.  As he drags his foot, it will remain protected from the elements.  No more wearing down of his toenails, fur or skin around the top of the foot.  We take those small blessings where we can.

This hand crafted, rugged stylish boot made with tender loving care serves his needs perfectly.  One roll of tape is only $6.00 and it will provide enough boot repair fixings to last longer than he will need.

It is a fairly strong piece of footwear.  He seems to use it for a little support when standing, and when he get’s up to a faster pace, will throw his bad foot forward, using that added support to almost appear as though he is not limping.

When I go to get his leash and “Da Gorilla Boot”, he instantly perks up, knowing it means we are going for a walk.  Hopefully we will still share a good many more little walks, he and I. DaBoot

Many, many thanks to the makers of Gorilla Tape.  Once again, they have rocked my world, and now Buddy’s!