Requiem for a Runt

Requiem for a Runt

He was the runt of the litter.  But wow, was he ever cute.  Really cute.  Ginger bonded with him immediately and he with her.  Mission accomplished.

Almost 14 years ago, as Ginger faced yet another in a string of  knee surgeries, we knew it was going to be a long, mostly immobile recovery.  A puppy made sense.  What better way to ease the tedious, healing hours?   We named him Ozzie Osbourne.  Although he was cute, he was also part weird.  Born on Hallowe’en and being part weird seemed to justify the name.

A LANGUAGE OF HIS OWN

About nine years ago, shortly after he turned five, a disc popped through his spinal column and his back legs and hips quit working.  The vet said that the surgery to correct the situation was incredibly expensive and even if it was successful, there was only a fifty percent chance he’d ever walk again.  We refused to accept that.  So did Ozzie.  We found a new vet and after six weeks of total rest and mega doses of some very effective natural health products, he fought his way back to almost perfect health.  The only thing he couldn’t do was jump.  That’s a bit of an issue when your mission in life is to be a lap dog.  So he created a language all his own and there was never a doubt as to what he wanted.  For some reason, he scratched on the hall closet door when he was hungry, nowhere near the kitchen.  When he needed to go outside he’d walk halfway to the door and look back with an expression that said “Hey, aren’t you getting this?”.  And when he wanted to cuddle, he would look you straight in the eye and nod his head up and down.  He taught us his language, we didn’t teach him.

YES, A LAP DOG

Truth be known, Ozzie spent most of his life curled up on Ginger’s lap.  Oh, he played hard and created mischief particularly when other dogs were around but he knew why he’d decided to live with us.  Lap dog.  First, foremost and always.  Even earlier this year as he was in substantial discomfort himself, he remained Ginger’s leg warmer as she recovered from yet another knee surgery (see the pic at top of post).

Over this past year he fought his way through declining mobility, a genetic neurological condition and twitches and seizures that made his daily life challenging. We watched carefully as the inconveniences turned to pain.  Significant, non-curable pain.

SAYING GOODBYE

Yesterday, the time came to say goodbye.  He passed away in our arms.  I held him and stroked his forehead because that was our thing.  But when the time to leave us became imminent he spent his last moments being cuddled by the woman he had pledged his heart to.  He slipped away peacefully and painlessly in her arms.

Ozzie taught us many things during his years as head of our family.  He proved that with effort, patience and motivation any challenge can be eliminated.  He taught us that there’s always time for fun and a quick game of ‘chase me around the house’.

Most importantly, he taught us that there is always room on the couch and no matter how busy you are, there is always, always time for a cuddle.

The house is so quiet today.  Rest easy little big man.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” (Gilda Radner )

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Your “Why” Or Your “Process”?

Your “Why” Or Your “Process”?

As promised, an update on my new ‘ Ready, Reset, Go’ focus.  If you didn’t read the first post, you may want some background so click to read it here.  As expected, some revelations have entered the forward planning for this epic adventure.

THE PROCESS

My good friend and amazingly talented psychologist Nancy Morris and I had a lengthy discussion regarding weight loss and fitness.  I believe that to succeed at something, you need to fall in love with the process.  If you plant a garden and hope to have an abundant crop, you need to get up every single day and be excited about all the watering, weeding, cultivating,  hard work. etc. that are necessary for your plants to flourish.  It is the ‘process’ that gets you to the goal, your ‘why’.

YOUR ‘WHY’

Nancy believes that ‘why you are doing this’ is of utmost importance.  She says that if you have a deep-seated, passionate reason for doing something, your brain will assist you in getting there.  I really can’t argue about that because I also believe that having a huge ‘why’ is vital to anything you decide to do, especially if you are effecting a major life change such as creating health, weight loss and fitness.  Losing weight and getting fit are not simple projects to accomplish.  The blood, sweat, toil and tears are real and being a long process, your ‘why’ needs to be rock solid.

MAYBE THE COMBO?

All of this to let you know that I needed to make adjustments to my process shortly after I began the health/fitness quest.  I had resolved in the initial stages of my planning to add 500 steps per day to my routine until I reached the recommended 10,000 steps per day.  This proved to be much more difficult than I actually imagined.  500 additional steps doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re used to being a couch potato and you haven’t exercised to any great extent in a very long time, going from 2,000 steps a day to 2,500 the next day is fairly simple.  Trying to get to 3,000 the next day is much more difficult. By the time I had reached 4,000 steps per day, getting to 4,500 the next day proved to be extremely challenging.  I still haven’t taken my eyes off the prize, so the ‘why’ is still solidly in place. But the process seems to have hit a plateau.  What to do?

IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE THE PROCESS

Realizing that if I didn’t make adjustments the mission could stall prompted me to re-evaluate and regenerate the process.  Apparently at this point in my metamorphosis, a step count increase of 500 per day was not terribly well thought out.  I had simply picked a number and flown with it.  So I  did some research, found that my initial process was flawed and changed the number to something more usually recommended by fitness gurus.  For the past two days I have again found myself in love with the process and the ‘why’ hasn’t changed.  I still know where I’m going.  It’s just going to take me a bit longer to get there.

NOT A FAILURE

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  That was Thomas Edison’s response when he was asked about the thousands of times he had not achieved his goal of creating a functional lightbulb.  I don’t see revamping the process as a failure.  I see it as a necessary change to the process to achieve my ‘why’.  Focus on the all-important ‘why’ and accept that it is okay to modify the process to achieve.  Focus on the destination but make sure you are loving the trip.  Sounds solid to to me.  Thanks, Nancy!

As you know, I end all blog posts with something to think about, but I suspect the quote from Edison above will serve that purpose today.

On A Sad, Reflective Day

On A Sad, Reflective Day

One of the most important mentors in my life passed away yesterday.  I should probably mourn his loss.  But I can’t.  He won’t let me.

I won’t use his name in this article.  And I ask you, if you know him, not to use his name in any comments you may feel compelled to add at the bottom of this post.  He asked me not to and I will not break that trust.

I can’t help but think about all the things I could have said and all the ways I could have honored him.   Not that I didn’t do that while he was alive.  I just didn’t do it enough.  The man took me from meagre beginnings to an enlightenment of who I was, who I needed to be and how I needed to get there.

There is an old expression, when the student is ready the master appears, and I promise you that’s true.  He arrived in my life at a time when I truly needed him.  We grew from mentor/student to longtime friends.  And he added Ginger and I to his life and his family.  His wife of 45 years, his two exceptional children and grandchildren were his greatest joy.  They were all with him yesterday in a quiet, loving place.  All gave him hugs.  All said goodbye.  All told him how much he was loved.  Then he asked everyone else politely to leave and spent the last few moments of his wonderful life holding hands with the remarkable woman that was by his side for almost five decades.

His passing wasn’t a surprise.  He’d been ailing for several years and always the realist, he knew his time was limited.  He confided in those closest to him exactly what he wanted done when he passed.  Rather, the list should be called the things he didn’t want done.  For that reason, we are today honouring his legacy and his wishes by observing the following requests.

As he directed, there will be no public funeral.  No announcement of his passing will appear in the local newspaper.  And there will be no outpouring of grief.  Instead of what is considered the norm in our society, he simply wanted those he mentored to spend a few minutes today in quiet reflection of their own contributions to the world, not his.

So, in his honour, I have spent most of my day counting the blessings that were showered on me simply from knowing him.  And tonight, also in tribute, I will sit down and enjoy two fingers of scotch.  Neat.  No ice.  And I will say to no one in particular, “So a duck walks into a pharmacy”.

See you around my friend……

Regular readers know that I always close with something to think about.  Today’s is something he would have loved.  And he would have laughed.

“I am prepared to meet my Maker.  Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”  (William Shakespeare)

 

On Falling Down

On Falling Down

I’m a firm believer in ‘masterminding’ and one of the people I am honored to count as a friend, mentor and mastermind conspirator is Nancy Morris. Nancy is the ‘un-guru’ of business psychology and people development. She’s really good at what she does. We have lunch together at least once a month to chat.

LEARNING AT LUNCH

At our last lunch, we got onto the topic of inevitable failures in business and Nancy, as she always does, said something that got me thinking. I made a comment about people that always need to be right. Nancy was quick to correct me. She said, “No one thinks that they always need to be right. But many people think that they should never be wrong”. Told you she was smart. The paradigm shifted.

Being wrong is okay.  It’s actually better than okay.

FAILURE IS INEVITABLE

In a recent article on entrepreneur.com, Chris Byers, CEO of Formstack noted that, “In business, failure is inevitable. It’s what you do after you fail that makes a difference.”

I couldn’t agree more. However, it is also crucial to note that repeating the error is a choice. As infants we were all faced with the challenge of learning to walk. Our parents didn’t plunk us down in front of a computer, launch a powerpoint presentation on how to walk and hoped we’d ‘get it’. We fell down. Lots. A child falls an average of about 290 times before they actually learn to walk. Failure is how we learn. Failure is how successful people motivate themselves to move forward.

TRACTION IS ESSENTIAL TO GROWTH

Byers goes on to say, “In order come up with new and innovative ideas, new concepts have to be tried. New ideas don’t need to be committed to for life, but trying something new and seeing if you can get traction is essential to growth.

Make mistakes. Learn from them, don’t repeat them. That’s business. And it is the road to success.

Something to think about: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”  (George Bernard Shaw)

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Who The Heck Is Miss Vickie?

Every once in a while my thought processes wind up on a very twisted offramp. These are usually things that I think about late at night or when the power goes out.

Recently a good friend recommended a new flavor of potato chips called Miss Vickies Smokehouse Barbecue. I tried ‘em. Pretty good actually. But here’s where the lateral thinking got a bit wonky. I started wondering about Miss Vickie. Was she a real person or just some figment of imagination cooked up by a potato chip marketing guru?  Google, here I come.

Turns out that Miss Vickies is owned by Frito-Lay.  Aha, I thought to myself. There is no such person. It’s just a name created to catch my attention. However, a little more Google and voila, there really is a Miss Vickie. The recipe originated with Vickie and Bill Kerr at their potato farm in New Lowell, Ontario. The chips saw their debut at the 14th annual Alliston Potato Festival in 1987, gained quick popularity amongst festival go-ers and over the next few years the chips were produced and marketed from Pointe-Claire, Quebec until they were purchased by Frito-Lay in 1993.

It wasn’t a big leap from there to start wondering about other brand names. You can see how this almost turned into an all-nighter. I just had to know how far I could take this so I compiled a list.

REAL PERSON OR FIGMENT OF THE IMAGINATION?

(See how many of these you get correct.  Answers at bottom of page)

Mrs. Fields?

Chef Boyardee?

Dr. Pepper?

Granny Smith Apples?

Marie Callender?

The Reuben Sandwich?

Duncan Hines?

THERE IS A POINT TO THIS

In today’s world of instant worldwide communication, internet marketing gurus and global reach it is crucially important to make sure who you’re dealing with. When you’re approached with a great new product, idea or opportunity, please do your research first. Anything can be made to look real on the internet. As an entrepreneur its very easy to make snap decisions and many have lived to regret their decision. Here’s a good rule of thumb.  The more pressure that someone puts on you to “start today before the opportunity is gone”, the more likely there’s a reason they want your money today.

Be careful out there my friends. And if you’re looking for a great article on how to find a legitimate opportunity, you really should click this link and spend a few seconds reviewing an article called ‘How To Start A Home Business’.  It’s safe.  No sales pitches.  I know because wrote it.

And as always, we end with something to think about. “Your initial instincts about investments and people are usually correct. We do a lot of due diligence in this business and most of the time it comes out where we started.”  (Alan Patricof)

ANSWERS

(Tell me how many you got correct in the comments section below)

Mrs. Fields?  Real Person. Mrs. Fields Cookies was founded by Debbi Fields (b. 1956, Oakland, California)

Chef Boyardee?  Made up. Chef Boyardee was a fictional creation whose name was taken from the given names of the company’s three founders: Boyd, Art, and Dennis.

Dr. Pepper?  Figment of imagination. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison’s Pharmacy in Waco, Texas is credited as the inventor.

Granny Smith Apples?  Real Person. The Granny Smith originated in Australia in 1868. Mary Ann (Granny) Smith found the seedling (believed to be French Crab) growing in her garden where she had thrown out some apples.

Marie Callendar?  Real person. The legacy of Marie Callender began in the early 1940s in Orange County, California, when Marie, an accomplished baker, first launched her legendary pie business delivering freshly baked pies to area restaurants.

Reuben Sandwich?  Real Person. Most print evidence credits chef Reuben Kulakofsky from the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska.  Sorry about that New York.

Duncan Hines?  Fictitious, sort of. There was a real Duncan Hines, salesman, entrepreneur, author, critic and philanthropist. He did not, however, invent the cake mixes that bear his name.