Excerpt of Chapter Three: In Between East and West

Guest blog by Dr. Caroline Joan (Kay) Picart
Author of Inside Notes from the Outside 
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

"In Between East and West," is an attempt to paint, in broad strokes, some of my experiences as a Cambridge Fellow in England, beginning with being a molecular embryologist, and shifting to concentrate in History and Philosophy of Science. It attempts to evoke the experience of the loneliness of being a female Filipino expatriate, living within a culture both strange and familiar, racked by sharp pangs of homesickness, haunted by a sense of guilt over not being "nationalistic" enough, or of having left behind all that had formerly grounded one in the hope of finding, perhaps, a better way of life. Once again, categories of "inside"-ness and "outside"-ness proved porous at numerous levels. 
* * * * * 
What I remember most about the journey from the Philippines to Cambridge, England in September, 1989, was the 15 hour flight in which night and day merged into an indiscernible blur. Cramped and squinting in dim light, I remember avidly going over a familiar cell biology book in an attempt to brush up on the basics. As I contorted my small frame into every imaginable position humanly possible during that 15-hour flight, I remember reflecting over the trajectory of events that led to my exodus. Though I tended, naturally, to gravitate toward literature and the humanities as a young child, it was the ambition of becoming a doctor in order to help cure my mother's deafness that steered me in the direction of biology once I was in high school. I dreamed of being similar to Jose Rizal, one of the country's national heroes, famous for both his medical skills (a colored illustration depicting him checking on his mother's ear was shown to me when I was seven years old), and his stirringly expressive prose (he wrote two of the country's finest novels written in Spanish by a Filipino, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo). 

Joining LIKAS (Lingap Para sa Kalusugan ng Sambayanan-a group of medical professionals and students using primary health care education as a way to build politicized communities) launched me into being the editor of the group's journal for a number of years; and eventually, being one of two student government representatives for all the student organizations on campus. 

Yet as my involvement with the vortex of student politics grew, particularly within the maelstrom of the tightening control of the desperate Marcos regime during the early to mid 1980s (alongside the deepening of my mother's unhappiness), I found myself gasping for an interior space into which I could withdraw from the perpetual onslaught of so many lived experiences of suffering. That interior space was initially provided by my literature classes, and later, by my Philosophy classes, with their rich and intense probing into questions that the practice of medicine, and of scientific experimentation raised, but could not answer. Fr. Luis David, a professor in one of the classes I took, was kind enough to urge me to plunge directly into a master's degree in Philosophy, despite the fact that I was not studying for a B.A. in Philosophy at that time. Through his encouragement, the semester before I graduated with my B.S. in Biology/pre-medical studies, I accepted a scholarship to do a master's degree in Philosophy, and was promptly recruited to teach in Zoology by the department from which I had earned my B.S. degree. After a semester of taking graduate classes in Philosophy, the department chair in Philosophy also recruited me to teach an introductory Philosophy course; then another colleague begged me to apply for a lectureship teaching basic Astro-Physics at a monastery because their teacher had suddenly resigned. My development into a professional "cyborg," as one who juggles language games and epistemological lenses across disciplines began early.

When both my department chairs in Biology and Philosophy asked me to consider going on to do a Ph.D., my all too humanly youthful ambition kicked in. "Why not do both?" I thought. I reasoned to myself that because scientists tend to peak, statistically anyway, when they are "younger" (i.e. in their 30's or early 40's), and philosophers appear to achieve their most enduring insights when they are of a ripe, mature age (with the exception of a few like Spinoza of course, but Kant was set up as the paradigm case of the model philosopher at the Ateneo), I thought it would do me well to plunge into scientific inquiry first, and then philosophical reflection later. 

"You may never marry," my father warned in his worried, paternal way. I shrugged and started submitting the fellowship applications.
* * * * *
I was one among many "bright eyed and bushy tailed" new students who attended the orientation at Cambridge in 1989. "Culture" and "History" (with a big "C" and an equally monumental "H") seemed to permeate the very air we breathed: we worked in a laboratory not far from the drafty but historic building in which Watson and Crick formulated the Nobel prize-winning model of the DNA double helix; we had easy access to the famous Queen's and King's College Choir Christmas concerts; luminaries like Umberto Eco, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins were among the international scholars invited to campus. 
Yet I was quick to learn that amidst the polyphony of accents and languages, not every accent or nationality was equally valued. Even Shri Lankans and Indians spoke with a distinct British accent; yet even then, many of them were never quite part of the "inner" circle somehow. I found that a London working class accent was silently condemned as "indecent;" and that as soon as one uttered even a syllable, particularly if one was British, invisible cultural radars scanning for clues revelatory of one's class were turned on. An "American" accent was also spoken of with thickly ironic humor, or an understated shudder. 
Dating and relationships with the other sex constituted yet another frontier. When I was in the Philippines, I had practically never "dated," as such. I had gone off to see a movie or two with a seminarian friend, but these were young men who were seriously thinking of becoming priests and were thus "safe." 

When I first arrived in Cambridge, I was a little surprised at how much amorous interest seemed to be such an overt component of even brief acquaintanceships. Once, I drew a British female friend aside and asked her why it seemed as though everyone seemed interested in jumping to the next level a little too soon. She remarked that one thing British girls learn early is to give the "right cues." Laughing or smiling a lot, directly returning a gaze, or even lightly touching someone on the shoulder to stress a point (all of which I did without giving these a thought because I did them with friends, both male and female in the Philippines), in this culture, were considered signs of romantic interest. I found, to my all too Filipino Catholic surprise, that though holding hands in public was considered scandalous, secretly jumping in bed for one night stands was not. Involvements, for the most part, seemed brief and very intense, much like wartime liaisons. Reflecting in retrospect on the situation, part of it could be explained by the difference in gender ratio. On average, there were about two or three males admitted for every single female admitted to a Cambridge college within the university system, and the reason for this seemed to rely more on tradition rather than entrance criteria results. For the undergraduates, whose lives revolved around eight week cycles, there was an intense pressure to excel in everything, from academics to being part of the right clubs, to bedding as many attractive people as one could. And with the environment being as cosmopolitan as it was, when semesters were not in session, everyone literally went home to different countries, ranging from Malaysia, to Germany, to India, to Australia, and South Africa, among others. This made keeping relationships beyond the eight week mark somehow more complicated.

* * * * *
Other than the social and cultural scene, there was much in Cambridge to take in. During my first semester there, I was lucky enough to be able to churn out results that looked extremely promising. I was part of a team working on isolating a hypothesized neurorepressor, "pisoffin," which seemed localized in the chick brain. 

As a devout protégée, determined to be a consummate insider, I remember well the long hours in the library, during the day, spent trying to catch up on the latest literature; and then later, at the laboratory, the vagaries of trying to get exactly the right mix so the cultured cells would grow before the properly experimental part could be done. And once the experiment began, there would be no stopping because all other variables had to be held as constant as possible, and there had to be sufficient samples for the findings to prove convincing as indicative of a larger trend. At first, I did not mind the long hours in the laboratory, inhaling stale air steeped in the cloud of various types of chemicals. Neither did I mind what sometimes turned out to be 15 hour stints at the laboratory, where I could, if I were lucky, catch an hour or so of sleep by using my arms and hands as pillows, cradling myself as I slumped over desks, waiting for the next step of experimental intervention. This was fairly common for laboratory work.

Later, however, as my health began to suffer, and my lucky streak at producing results seemed to be undergoing a slump, I asked for some time off from my supervisors. By then, my supervisors, "silently beaming" about the results I had initially produced, had approached other laboratories on possible collaborations in order to generate a possible article for Nature, one of the most prestigious journals in the field. They were too invested in not being beaten at publication, and my request was thus denied. When the latest test I ran failed to produce the same promising curve of a direct correlation between the amount of pisoffin and the rate of growth cone collapse, I decided to take matters in my own hands. I wrote a long letter to my supervisors, explaining that I needed two days to rest, and left them my laboratory notebook, which had all my results thus far recorded in it. When I returned, two days later, I found that what had been projected as my dissertation research project had been parceled out in bits to four other students working in the laboratory, and that I was powerless to reclaim my project back.

When I did speak with my supervisors, one pointed out that this was too big of a project for one student, and that I could surely not test for its parameters all alone. The other, more honestly, spoke of the pressures of grant writing in order to generate funds to keep the laboratory going. "Look," he said, his steely gray eyes glinting. "When you run your own laboratory, you'll understand, and you will do exactly what we have done." They needed to publish the results quickly in order to be able to cash in-both prestige-wise and money-wise; all else, including the possibility that I could not gain a Ph.D. because they would already have divested my project of its claim to "originality" by the time I would be up for defending my work, were secondary considerations. They were not "bad" guys; they were simply trying to survive a system "red in fang and claw." I suddenly realized that within the British mentoring system, there was no such thing as student rights; a mentorship was traditionally based on an implicit trust of the mentor, and if that were violated, the only option open to the student seemed to be transferring out. 

That realization, combined with health considerations (physical and emotional exhaustion, allergic reactions to chemicals) eventually made me decide to shift gears. Perhaps it was also the realization that given the same circumstances and the same pressures, I would be very similarly tempted to do the same as my supervisors. Despite the fact that both my supervisors in Molecular Embryology thought I could finish the Ph.D. in two years by reinforcing the gains of my first year there and urged me to stay, I decided to shift to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

At first, the shift was once again a dizzying, euphoric whirl; I greatly enjoyed the plunge back into philosophy, and found sociological inquiries into how scientific claims become authorized as "Truth" simultaneously fascinating and disturbing in their implications. Despite the fact that I was unanimously awarded the "Wolfson Prize," an award given to the best student based on competitive essays judged by faculty readers both inside and outside the department; despite the fact that several faculty members urged me to stay and finish the Ph.D., and despite the fact that I was one of the few graduate students to have a paper in review for possible publication, I requested for a year of respite in order to sort through my priorities. I thus left Cambridge with an M.Phil. in 1991, tentatively leaving the door open for a potential return.
Perhaps more so than the fact that I found my intellectual interests shifting (I found that I gravitated more towards Continental Philosophy, and Cambridge proved to be a stronghold of the Analytic Anglo-American tradition), I was plagued by more fundamental matters. I had seen that even Cambridge Ph.D.s were not guaranteed instant jobs, particularly in the competitive area of Philosophy, and particularly in merry old England. After having been away from the Philippines for two years, I knew re-entry would be very difficult, and I had no illusions about the economic remuneration of returning to teach in the Philippines. Being at Cambridge had been an enriching and educational experience, but it had also robbed me of many of my former certainties. The concept of "home," which had formerly been a fluid, rather than a stable, entity, now seemed even more porous. After two years of being in England, with brief trips to Germany, France and Spain, in which I was always a "foreigner" and in which I hardly spoke Filipino, I longed to be enclosed in a culture, but I knew, even before I returned to the Philippines, that this was impossible. As a young woman, I had always been a little too independent for Filipino culture to be able to fit imperceptibly into its fabric. After a few months of convalescing at my parents' home, I decided to accept a position as a teacher of English at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. 

Be Safe. Have fun, live life but keep Your Eyes Wide Open!

Guest blog by Kristie Kilgore
Author of  Eyes Wide Open: Bodyguard Strategies for Self-Protection

This situation with the sniper calls us to realize how fragile life is and how precious. This is a call to each an every american to take their personal freedom seriously AND their personal protection. It is up to YOU to stay safe. Like children, we put our lives in the hands of others everyday. Truthfully, only you can keep you safe.

First decide that your life matters and that you will take steps to be safe. The best thing you can do to prepare for random violence is to decide that your life matters and you will protect it.

Second - The next best thing you can do for yourself is to be aware of your normal surroundings in everyday life. Noticing something that is out of place or someone who is out of place is an important step.

Third - your eye-sight is a great gift. Walking with an unfocused gaze allows your eyes to perceive motion in your peripheral vision.

Fourth - although this is a serious terrifying horrific situation, MOST violence is predictable. True random violence is rare. Learn important warning signs - today!

Fifth - Make a habit of noticing entrances and exits to buildings when you enter them and make a game (a fun game that is a part of your daily life) of using your recall to observe your surroundings. Take snapshots with your vision and try to recall 10 or 15 minutes later what was in your field of vision. This skill translates in an emergency to noticing danger before IT notices YOU.

The Gift of Divorce...is it really possible?

Guest blog by Karen Kah Wilson, Ed.D.PCC
Author of Transformational Divorce: Discover Yourself, Reclaim Your Dreams, and Embrace Life's Unlimited Possibilities

Traumatic, sad, depressing, stuck, unwanted, frightening, lonely, angry, impossible, back-sliding, stressed, isolated, overwhelmed, unlovable, confused, lost, shame….these and many other words had crossed my mind during the beginning stages of my tenure divorce. And then, one day, after a long cry and an "anxiety attack" I started to laugh. The "deer caught in the headlight" image of myself had gotten boring, stale and unproductive. And more important than that, it wasn't reflecting the whole truth of my life since the divorce! I took out an untouched journal that one of my married friends gave me in chicken soup fashion saying that it "would help." (Then she ran back home hoping that the "divorce virus" that I was carrying was not contagious.) I made the following list of things that I had done that I would never have done if I were married:

· Learned how to start and use the lawn mower
· Went on a vacation to tennis camp on my own (ordered room service to my heart's delight)
· Got long acrylic fingernails and painted them red
· Painted my bedroom lavender and hung romantic Victorian curtains
· Bought new expensive sheets for my bed with a 300 thread count (I had never heard of thread counts before)
· Fixed the clothes washer after flooding the basement 3 times (lint was clogging the drain, who knew?)
· Got a make-over at the cosmetic counter
· Spent time with women friends
· Started meeting cool men (why did I think I wanted him anyway?)
· Got in to debt and out of debt
· Celebrated holidays with the kids "my way"
· Survived a major snow storm and shoveled the driveway on my own

Welcome to a new take on divorce! One which realizes that whether we were the one who initiated the divorce or were informed that it was happening; all kinds of new directions are possible when one life stage ends. No, it is not easy, and the road to happiness may be long and sometimes frightening, but, think of it as a fresh start and give yourself permission to laugh as you face situations that you had never confronted before (like eating at a lovely restaurant on your own and being ignored by waiters) and achieving new accomplishments (like tearing down the wall in your basement and making a meditation room.)

At this point in the presentation I share with my clients, they look at me with a confused stare. I have a smile on my face and they are feeling grief, anger or worse, fear. I understand these emotions well as a psychologist, divorce coach and divorced woman. What I didn't understand at the beginning of my divorce journey, however, was that after an initial time period where we struggle to come to grips with the reality that our lives are going to change, what we feel is actually a choice that we make, a very important choice. If I had understood that back then, my life would have taken a different turn. 

Until recently, when an expert talked about how to navigate the obstacle course of any emotional turmoil, they would make recommendations based on their experiences or the experiences and impressions of others. This, naturally, caused the public to wonder what is the truth, what can really help me? Lately, new technology has allowed researchers to examine what happens in the brain during emotional moments. This has lead to a new "science" of feelings and some clear, scientific recommendations about how we can really help ourselves when we feel emotionally trapped. I found that a basic understanding of these new discoveries helped motivate me to take action. Here is a "lite" explanation of feelings and the brain:

The amygdala versus the neocortex
When we are struggling with the many challenges that confront us during divorce, two key parts of the brain vie for control within us. First is the amygdala which is responsible for our primitive survival instincts. It is activated by fear or fearful thoughts. This may include thoughts such as not having enough money, losing custody of our children, never finding love and companionship again. This fear causes us to respond with fighting, fleeing or freezing. Sound familiar? I remember many nights of sitting "frozen" in front of the television or in my bed. I know women with whom I work are "caught" by their amygdala when they report that they are "stuck" in their life and not able to make any changes. These women are depressed, resentful, angry (the fight response), sleep a lot (the flight response) and think about their worries and fears over and over again. I was interested to learn that the more we are engaged in fearful thoughts, the more this type of thinking becomes a habit. We can become trapped in a cycle which breeds more and more negative thinking. Does this sound familiar? Do you feel stuck with the negativity of your life?

The hero for this situation is the part of our brain that is responsible for thought and high level intellectual functioning called the "neocortex." When you give yourself permission to think about your choices and push yourself to envision a productive, meaningful future, then the neocortex is in charge instead of the amygdale. You are now able to take action and make things change in your life. 

In summary, we have a choice-we can think of ourselves as victims of divorce or as powerful women who are ready to take steps (even small steps) towards creating the life that we want. This is not an easy process, but it is an essential one. A process that can lead you to a life where you are happier than you have ever been before.

It all begins with a vision of a joyful future. Remember that as long as you are caught by constant negative thoughts about how you are not living the life that you want, the more you are activating your amygdale and staying stuck in fear. Try a different direction for your thoughts. For example, consider this: if, in five years, you were able to create the ideal life, the life that you have always dreamed about, what would it be like? Allow yourself to imagine your ideal house, job, mate, social activities and other life aspects. This is your dream make it audacious! This dream and the freedom to take action toward this dream is one of the biggest gifts of divorce. Why?

When we are married we have to make compromises. That is normal and a part of being a good partner. Now, that you are on your own, the possibilities are limitless! You can focus on what you want and orient your life around a strategy designed to bring your fondest wishes into your life. Creating this new, wonderful life does take planning, patience and perseverance. It will be like running a marathon--a long 26 mile jog, up hills and down hills. With the right pacing you can cross the finish line a winner.

Divorce can transform your life. Imagine yourself on a long and winding road. Behind you is the life that was-your marriage. Ahead of you lies open road -- terrain yet to be explored. Possibilities. That is my favorite word about this time. Your life is full of possibilities if you allow yourself to stay positive and focused on what you really want. 

While not knowing what is going to happen can be a bit frightening, having no pre-determined plans to clutter your future can be considered the most cherished gift of your divorce. Having the opportunity to start most segments of your life without any expectations, a time that can be focused on you and only you is an amazing gift. Gather together the support that you need, friends (old and new), family, a coach, and start moving toward your dreams today. Transform your dreams into a beautiful reality. The gift of this time is yours to enjoy. Accepting the gift and appreciating its potential is your first step. Reach for it and begin!

Creating A Personal Protection Plan to Avoid Violence

Guest blog by Kristie Kilgore
Author of Eyes Wide Open: Bodyguard Strategies for Self-Protection

She was a martial artist and a business executive. She went into the office on a Sunday when no one was around to catch up on a pile of paperwork. Like most women, Sarah did not expect to encounter violence in the middle of the day: a common misconception. Few people realize that that time of day is not a determining factor for most violence. More than half the attacks on female victims occur during daylight hours.

Walking towards the front door of the office building, Sarah noticed two men standing approximately 20 feet away. Given their distance, she dismissed their presence as she inserted the key in the office door. This was her second error. Fact#2: An average person can close a 20-foot distance in under 2 seconds. How long does it take to unlock a door to a car, office or home? 

Unlocking the door, her attention was on the lock, not on her surroundings. The deadbolt clicked and the door began to open. Less than a second after the door began to open, Sarah was violently shoved from behind and into the empty building. Fact#3: Most attacks on women occur from the rear or flank. Ambushed by two men, Sarah was dragged inside and pinned against a wall. Two men began striking her, finally triggering her martial arts training. Thankfully she had training. Without training she would have been sexually assaulted, brutalized, and possibly killed. Although Sarah valiantly fought her way free to escape, her two attackers remain at large today.

A simple Personal Protection Plan (PPP) could have prevented Sarah's assault. A PPP is an agreement that you make with yourself to protect yourself, to avoid violence. Many martial artists could benefit from such as plan. Often martial artists are trained only in how to use force and never explore what could happen if they do fight back. Few explore reasons to avoid use of force completely.

Use of force should be the very last component in a PPP and should not be the only component. For Sarah, her lack of a plan nearly killed her. Use of force carries risk, both in terms of injury and liability. While Sarah was most certainly justified in her use of force, she could easily have been over-powered by two large male attackers, especially if they had been trained. Relying on her use of force training rather than focusing on protection nearly got the female martial artist killed.

A PPP should be awareness and avoidance-based, rather than reaction or use of force-based. Knowledge of how to survey surroundings for threat could have prevented Sarah's attack. While the young executive and martial artist was able to fight her way to freedom, she still carries the memory and scars of the encounter and will for a lifetime. Simple concepts taught in Eyes Wide Open: Bodyguard Strategies for Self-protection could have prevented her attack. 

Millions of attacks just like Sarah's happen every year in America. How many people start each day thinking about personal protection and planning the day with avoidance of violence in mind? Avoiding violence takes far less energy and resources than handling violence or mentally and physically recovering from violence. More than 2000 years ago in the Art of War, Chinese military strategist Sun Tsu taught that vulnerability should be in the enemy, invincibility is in oneself. Avoidance does not mean living in fear. Avoidance means understanding the enemy that you may face, and becoming invincible.

At a time when our nation has been called into a state of "vigilance" in response to terrorist attacks, each American should be educated in threat recognition, assessment and avoidance techniques. Each person would benefit from the concept of personal invincibility.

Random Versus Predictable Violence

It all starts with understanding violence: where, when, and how it really occurs. Misconception and myth about violence abounds. Eyes Wide Open is based on both statistical research and interviews conducted with victims of violence. Even I was surprised to discover the truth about violence.

Violence is one of two things: random or predictable. I define random violence as the victim had no reason to expect the event prior to its immediate on-set. For example the workers who entered the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 had no reason to expect that they would be victims of violence that day. The victims of the gunman who went on a shooting spree in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2000 had no reason when they got out of bed in the morning to expect that they would face a killer.

In contrast, predictable violence means that the victim had sufficient information to assess that violence could occur that day, given a specific location, activity, history of events, or type of persons who would be encountered. Sufficient information was available to passengers who flew on those ill-fated flights on September 11, 2001 for them to be at least generally aware that travel by air was a high-risk activity. Hi-jackings of commercial airlines began in the 1960s. Cockpits have been accessible on commercial airlines, even after the onset of the age of hi-jackings. Short-bladed knives considered lethal weapons, were allowed on commercial airliners for years (PHOTO___) and a high percentage of the population carries concealed short-bladed knives for personal protection (Photo __ ). A lethal weapon, just by its presence creates a high risk environment. You cannot predict the circumstances under which the lethal weapon might be pulled or used.

Steps to protect yourself from random violence are different than predictable violence. A partial list includes: learning to assess your environment, developing and taking mental note of escape routes for emergencies, identifying the last "safe place" you passed, identifying high risk places and avoiding those places or heightening awareness while in them, and developing reflexes for fleeing a scene or evading a last minute attack. 

Preparing for random violence may also include learning to recognize concealed weapons and understanding the effective range of common types of weapons: cutting/edged implements, impact tools, firearms and rifles. Do you think you will never face an automatic weapon? 

Doris was traveling to Switzerland several days after the September 11th attack. She had read portions of Eyes Wide Open and contacted me about the dangers of traveling in such high risk times. I shared very general concepts with her:

· pay attention to what is happening around you;
· listen to your gut;
· report suspicious activities;
· escape conflict if you can;
· if you cannot, then face a physical threat centerline of the body to centerline;
· if you cannot escape and are forced to fight, strike vital targets.

As fate should have it, two days later Doris was outside a building in Switzerland when a gunman opened fire inside that same building. Doris had stepped off a plane from America only two hours earlier. The man inside the building shot numerous victims who were complete strangers to him: random violence. Doris was about to go into that same building when she heard the first automatic gunfire erupt. 

Lucky for Doris, when others around her insisted that the noise was not gunfire, she listened to her instincts. If Doris had dismissed her gut feeling or abandoned her newly created PPP, she would have gone inside the building and been a victim too. 

Doris was among the first to assess what was happening inside the building. She was personally responsible for alerting police, who then entered the building and apprehended the shooter. How did she do it? First she was aware of her surroundings, she heard the gunfire and recognized the noise. Second she noticed a police officer passing by in a patrol car, and she laid on the horn of her vehicle to get his attention. With the windows rolled up the officer could not hear the gunfire and was oblivious to what was going on inside the building.

Doris courageously yelled to people who were walking towards the building, alerting them to the danger inside. This was seconds before bloodied victims dove out of windows to escape the shooter. Her simple response to random violence prevented others from becoming victims. 

Unlike Sarah, Doris is not a martial artist. Yet, she is living proof that one person equipped with basic PPP and a few easy-to-apply concepts can make a difference. Her PPP saved her life and the lives of others. Overshadowed by September 11, her story did not make it into US newspapers, still, Doris was a hero that day and I am proud of her!

Most violence is predictable, and therefore preventable. Something preceeds the violence. Predictable violence can be categorized by how it begins: verbal confrontation with an emotionally triggered person that escalates to assault, surprise frontal attack, rear assault/surprise attack, multiple attacker ambush for kidnapping or sexual assault, robbery of personal property under the threat of violence, acquaintance sexual assault, and road rage. Predictable violence includes traveling to, passing through and remaining in areas that in Eyes Wide Open I identify as high risk locations, such as fatal funnels (places with only one way in and out).

Preparing A Personal Protection Plan

Every young adult and adult should take the time to prepare a Personal Protection Plan. The first step in preparing your own PPP is to determine the type or types of violence that you may realistically encounter in your normal life. For example, if you are a middle to upper class business person who frequently travels to Mexico (one of many high risk countries for travelers), you have the potential to be kidnapped for ransom. If you do not travel internationally and have no financial assets, this type of violence is not likely to happen to you. If go into the office after hours, perhaps something like the first story in this article is a possibility for you? Do you work in upper level management and make decisions regarding firing personnel? Then the potential exists for a frontal confrontation with an emotionally triggered employee.

Next assess where you will travel to, through or remain in high risk locations, and times you will be isolated. If you frequent bars, reduce your awareness and response time with alcohol, and are easily triggered by words or actions of another, then you have a high probability of experiencing frontal confrontation that escalates to assault. If you visit ATMS and are unaware of your surroundings, withdraw money and wave that money around, then you have a high probability of being ambushed from the rear. If you go to the office after-hours alone and do not pay attention to what is in a 30-foot radius, then you run the risk of a rear ambush while you unlock a door.

Variables of Exposure to Violence

Human conflict is human conflict. Learn about the Variables of Exposure to Violence. I developed these variables based on interviews with bodyguards, victims of violence and extensive statistical research of violence. The Variables are: accessibility/vulnerability, predictability, visibility, high risk locations and activities, level of awareness, familiarity with the environment, and gender. This conceptual model applies to domestic violence, street violence or terrorism. Watch the movie Black Hawk Down and find them at work in the now-famous military action in Somalia.

Understanding the Variables can also prevent exploitation such as identify theft, and kidnapping. With the Variables in hand, you can begin to assess daily routines that are predictable, places and moments of assessability to attack, actions or manners that lead to visibility, how to assess an unfamiliar environment, choices that compromise awareness, and high risk locations and activities. Take the time to learn about the Variables that apply to human conflict in daily life - now! Think about violence before it happens. If you wait until you face violence, you have missed the opportunity to protect your well being, and you will be forced to defend your life. If you have had no training, then nothing is what you are likely to do when unprepared and surprised. In this sense, self-defense really IS it too little, too late.

Statements: Agreements to Thrive in Life

A PPP is built around statements that begin with, "I always___________." Start by assessing what you always do to stay safe and avoid violence right now. Then add in what you plan to do from this day on. I recommend a primary or general plan that is always followed and a daily plan that fits your planned activities for the day. People who travel frequently should also develop a Travel PPP. 

My primary plan consists of actions that I take no matter where I am. I always lock my door when I come home at the end of the day and survey my house (about 50% of violence against women occurs in a private home). I always keep the doors and windows to my house locked. I always keep the doors to my vehicle locked. I always tell someone my destination, route and itinerary when I am traveling alone. I always have a weapon within my sight. I always stay more than arm's length away from strangers. I always limit who has access to my home telephone number. I always travel with a charged cell phone in case of emergency. I always assess entrances and exits when I am in any room or building. I always limit the access of strangers to my home. Unless my environment is secure (I am in a locked room alone), I always pay attention to who is within a 30 foot radius. I always check my environment closely before I turn my back, and I recheck what is behind me frequently while my attention is focused to the front of me (for example, while unlocking a door). 

While these statements may seem like "small steps", taking these simple steps may save your life. Remember that awareness and quick response based on a PPP saved Doris and the lives of those she warned!

Other steps that I add to my daily plan depend on whether I will be in a high risk situation, location or activity that day. Considerations for the daily plan depend on details such as whether or not I will be commuting, in meetings with strangers, working unusual hours, or working in or visiting unfamiliar locations. Other actions may also depend on whether someone in my life is emotionally triggered or unstable. I create my daily plan just like I select my clothing for work; it is just what I do, every day that I leave my home. 

Simple Steps to Live Life Free from Violence

Simple steps and a basic PPP can and may save your life. Take a moment to prepare a general PPP and commit yourself to considering your safety every day. Learn the Variables of Exposure to Violence and assess these variables that are already at work in your life. Human conflict is a part of life and has been since Sun Tsu lived. How you handle each conflict may determine whether you will simply survive, escape the conflict, or avoid the situation to thrive and live life fully another day. 

Five Solutions for Surviving the Empty Nest Syndrome

Guest blog by  Dr. Kathleen Hall
Author of Alter Your Life: Overbooked? Overworked? Overwhelmed? 

Did you know that empty nest syndrome occurs most often in October, well after children have left for college? When the children leave home, parents may feel sadness, loneliness, emptiness, guilt, and uselessness. 

Does this situation sound familiar? Waving goodbye to your last child, you begin the long drive home. The reality of your empty nest sets in during the next few weeks. Your decades-old primary role of "mom" or "dad" has been instantly eliminated, creating the most disturbing identity theft of your life. Your life has essentially revolved around your children's busy lives. Now the busy years are over. You have invested so much time with your children that when your last child leaves the nest, you don't know how to deal with a household of two. You look at your partner and wonder who he or she is. At home you mechanically open the refrigerator to prepare dinner and find that it's nearly empty. The years of shopping for the special treats each child enjoyed are over. Now the refrigerator is bare and in your confusion, you don't know what to buy at the grocery store either.

How can you put your life back together and learn to cope with the stress of empty nest syndrome? Ignoring the problem is not the answer. Check out these solutions designed to get you back on track toward the next chapter of your life.

Solution #1 Be proactive not reactive. 
Prepare for the feelings before they come. Learn to experience a sense of power and control in your own life. By facing the situation straight on without compromising your feelings, you choose not to avoid the pain, the confusion, and change, but to deal with it in a healthy way. This is a time of adventure, discovery and creativity.

Solution #2 Use loneliness as an opportunity to develop your Self. 
Now that the children are gone, there are only two of you in the house. But don't be alarmed! This is how you began this family all those years ago. Make a date with your husband once a week that takes place outside of the house. Play music in the background each day, be creative with your talents and abilities, and find a reason to laugh each day. It only takes five minutes of laughter to improve blood-vessel function! 

Studies also show that pet ownership lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, not to mention your health insurance rates! Sharing your new empty nest with a four-footed friend can also ward off depression. Enroll in that cooking class or pottery seminar you always wanted to take. Read the books you have been putting off for years. Enrich your mind by attending a classical music concert or a lecture. What about a career change or volunteer work? You will meet new people that will change your life. 

There are countless ways you can develop your Self when your kids leave the nest. Make sure you have a group of friends to support you in this transformation of your life. 

Solution #3 Choose crisis or rebirth. 
The empty nest period can become a crisis or a glorious time of rebirth. Honest self-evaluation and assessment is the first step on that path toward rebirth. Conduct a simple inventory of your life: mental, physical and spiritual.
· Get a journal and start writing. Answer these questions: What is the state of my mental health? Do I live with anxiety, depression, anger, fear, or shame? Can I improve my mental health by reading, joining a group or seeing a counselor? Get a therapist and enjoy the personal growth. 
· Take off your clothes and stand naked before the mirror. What do you see? How do you feel? Do you need to begin a different exercise program or learn more about nutrition? Try something new like Pilates, Tai Chi, or Yoga. Are there medical tests you have been putting off? Are you taking a multi-vitamin, drinking green tea and avoiding unhealthy foods? 
· Ask yourself about your spiritual life. Are you regularly experiencing a deep connection with your Source? If not, why not? Have you outgrown your religion or church? Should you learn about other theologies? Are there spiritual practices that you do each day to stay connected?

Solution #4 Create a new marriage for your new life
Many marriages are frail or fractured at empty nest. During the empty nest phase, the divorce rate rises 16 percent for married parents. The empty nest, however, can be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a true "love nest." 

Plan a vacation to someplace you have always wanted to go together. Learn what each of you like and dislike-movies, food, programs, vacation spots, sports, spirituality and religion. Review the home chores, list them all, and make a fresh decision about who will do what in this new marriage. My husband now does the laundry, vacuuming, dishes and has begun cooking! Get to know each other all over again.

With no children in the house, you can play again. Shower together, watch movies on the couch in sexy clothes, wear even less around the house and see what happens. Sex can become the best ever during the empty nest. Have sex in more than just the bedroom! 

Solution #5 Live Your Intentional Authentic Life.
The empty nest is an opportunity for you to spend the rest of your days living your intentional authentic life. Your other roles in life have taken a back seat to "your life." Begin an exciting plan for the rest of your life. How long do you both want to work? Where do you want to reside in retirement? Where do you want to travel? What will your financial needs be for both of you? Discover how you can create the rest of your life organized around the purpose you were born-"your authentic life."

Our family of origin is an incredible gift. Families can be the most fertile place for spiritual development, the catalyst for our growth potential. When your children leave the nest, this spiritual process does not have to end. Rather it can serve to create the happiest and richest time of your life. This is your life, and you can choose to plan a new life beyond your wildest dreams. Live intentionally.

Top 10 Reasons to Kick-off a Walking Routine with a Friend

Guest blog by Kim Murphy and Kris Carpenter
Author of The Best Friends' Guide to Getting Fit (Capital Ideas) 

After being casual friends for ten years we decided (somewhat on a whim) to start walking together five mornings a week. We knew that we probably should be exercising, but we were too busy being wives, mothers, and career women. Exercise was not a priority. In fact, it's rather amazing to us even today that we took those first steps out the door to meet each other.

But we did. And that first morning, as we hit a gradual hill in our neighborhood, we became winded. It made us laugh to think of how out of shape we were. Had we been alone, it might have made us cry and it's likely neither one of us would have continued on to walk another day. Something would have gotten in the way of being consistent-be it our personal schedules, our self esteem, or our lack of motivation. Yet, because we had each other to laugh with and we looked forward to our time together, we did continue. 

Now, all these years later, we can actually say that we have met consistently 5 days a week, for more 7 years, for some type of exercise-from walking, to running, to biking, to yoga, to strength training, and more. What has unfolded is a journey we never could have predicted, with destinations unimagined. We've landed at such amazing sites as the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon; and have experienced adventures like opening up a business, publishing a book, and launching a website together.

We firmly believe that each and every milestone we have reached was possible because:
· We had each other to lean on, to bolster, and to cheer;
· We had a consistent friendship-based exercise routine that fostered in us an incredible sense of confidence, clarity, purpose, and discipline;
· We learned how to transfer those skills-which were first developed during our walking routine-and apply them to other parts of our days in order to make major life changes.

We've spent countless hours analyzing what worked for us and creating a philosophy to share with others. Why? Because if it can work for us, it can work for you. 

Our philosophy is simple: If you connect with a friend, while you move your body, you can transform your life. 

The first step to experiencing success in your own life, utilizing our philosophy, is to understand why it works. Here, we present our Top 10 Reasons to Kick-off a Walking Routine with a Friend.

1. You know you should be exercising. 
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," we hear you saying. We all know exercise is good for us… and so, our point is? Our point is that we understand the disconnect between knowing what to do, versus, actually doing it.

When the list of commitments, priorities, and chores is long, taking time to exercise seems like one more job to add to the list. Maybe you find yourself saying, "Who has an hour to give to exercise, when what I really want is a shower?"

On the other hand, it's hard to deny that nagging guilt over what you know you should be doing for yourself. Why? Because, you're a smart girl. Ignoring the statistics regarding the benefits of exercise takes work. That, plus the fact that you may notice the longer you've gone without exercise, the more it shows. Maybe your aging body is sagging in ways that clothes no longer seem to cover. Or, you're facing health issues that exercise can combat. Or, deep down inside you wish you could be a better role model for your family or at least be in better shape to keep up with them. 

Partnering with a friend can be the key to closing the gap between what you know is good for you and what you do about it.

2. The friendship will seduce you into being consistent-even if you've never consistently exercised before in your life! 
When it comes to exercise, most people struggle to be consistent. Knowing you should "just do it" is not usually enough incentive (day after day) to head out the door for a workout. But with a friend at your side, you'll have someone to hold you accountable, who is expecting you. Then each day, you'll able to talk without interruption to someone who genuinely cares about you. You'll quickly get addicted to your time together, long before you begin to crave the exercise. One day will turn into 5, and then without realizing it, you'll look back in amazement and say, "Wow, I can't believe we've been in our routine for six whole months!". . . Six months will turn into a full year and then you'll be well on your way to a lifetime of fitness.

3. It's good for mind, body, and soul. 
Kicking off a walking program will allow you and your friend to chat and to connect on a regular basis. Women need to nurture and connect, "to tend and befriend", explains Shelley Taylor Ph.D., professor of psychology at UCLA, in her book The Tending Instinct. According to Taylor, having an opportunity to seek out social connection and support can lower blood pressure and tell our adrenal glands to stop producing corticosteroids. Fewer corticosteroids can reduce anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed and overwrought. 

Combine this "tend and befriend" approach with a routine that lets you move your body on a regular basis and you'll benefit mind, body, and soul-which can prompt life changing experiences for both of you.

4. It's the guilt-free approach to spending time with a friend.
Now that you know that even the experts say friendship is good for you, think back to how as you've gotten older, you may have placed friendships on the back burner. Where once we spent all our time with girlfriends, roommates, or sorority sisters hanging out and having fun, now we spend time tending to family commitments, work responsibilities, aging parents, volunteer duties, dirty clothes, dishes, and more. 

Like exercise, spending time with a girlfriend is easy to put off for another day. You'd never allow yourself the luxury to meet daily for coffee-it would seem too extravagant. And who has time to spend an hour on the phone chatting with a girlfriend? If you do manage to grab some uninterrupted time with a friend, it's probably only once a month (or less).

Yet, kicking off a friendship-based exercise routine gives you a guilt-free way of spending time together, while you both do something positive and healthy for yourselves.

5. You deserve to reclaim an hour a day for yourself. 
Getting lost in the details of the day is a common mistake women make. We remember how proud we were of ourselves for keeping everything going. We'd love to say, "We have all our balls in the air and none are dropping!" Little did we realize that each ball represented something or someone other than ourselves. As the years passed, we lost sight of our own personal vision and sense of who we were.

Today, you may no longer even know what your dreams for tomorrow are.

Having an hour a day to reflect, talk, and explore your thoughts with a friend may help you rediscover yourself. There are 24 hours in each day. You deserve at least one of them to meditate, center, prepare for the day, and explore your dreams and wishes. Your soul will feel nourished when you give it that time. At a bare minimum, you will set yourself on solid ground for the rest of day and all the hours you will spend juggling.

6. You'll have a built-in support system, someone to share the struggles, the laughs, and the triumphs with. 
Even though you may have a mom, husband, dad, children, boss, or work peers to provide you with support, a close girlfriend can support you in ways that few other people can. A girlfriend can know about and understand all aspects of your life, and yet, not be heavily invested in them. 

As you spend more together on your walks, you'll share good times and laughter; but also help each other through rough times. Your friend can be your true advocate, and you can be hers. You'll inspire confidence in each other, so that each of you helps the other to become the best that she can be. 

7. Your body will benefit. 
When you're in a friendship-based fitness routine, something funny happens slowly over time: your body starts to benefit. Perhaps you and your partner begin to walk a bit faster. Or, you try to jog a little bit in addition to your walks. Soon, one of you will mention that you are sleeping better at night, or that you're not suffering from as many headaches. Reflecting back, you'll realize that your bodies are changing. You're getting stronger, healthier, and more capable as a result of your routine. You will finally start to see the positive, wide-ranging effects of exercise. You'll be pleasantly surprised and proud of what you have accomplished. Most of all, you'll want to continue to build upon what you've started. 

8. You will develop greater confidence and discipline, which you can then apply to other areas of your life. 
As you gain a better sense of yourself and you become physically stronger and healthier, you'll become increasingly confident. This confidence has a way of spilling out into other areas of your life. You may no longer fear asking your boss for an alternative work schedule to better meet your needs. You may revamp and take control of your eating. You may start to say "No" to people who you've always, reluctantly, said "Yes" to. By feeding your body, mind, and soul, through daily connection and movement, you are being transformed!

9. You'll have more fun doing it together, than you'll ever have doing it alone. 
Just as we explained in the beginning of this article, even the miserable moments that can occur when starting an exercise routine-like the feeling of being winded-can be made more enjoyable when you have a friend to laugh with about it. And all of those initial awkward steps-be it joining a gym or trying a new class for the first time-are made more comfortable when you have a friend beside you along the way. Best of all, the achievements you experience are that much sweeter when you are able to share and rejoice together. 

10. Partnering with a friend may be the very formula you need to finally succeed at being consistent. 
If you've struggled to find a way to exercise consistently, this approach may be just what you need to break that cycle. It's what we needed. Before we decided to join forces, neither one of us had ever succeeded at establishing and maintaining any type of exercise routine. But once we made a commitment to each other-even though it seemed a small promise at the time-we discovered a formula for success. 

If you're ready to make it work for you, then grab a pencil and make a list of friends nearby. List neighbors, co-workers, other moms (any woman you feel a natural connection with.) You don't have to start out being "best friends". Review your list, then pick up the phone and call one of them. Ask her if she's interested in walking on a regular basis with you. Explain the concepts behind a friendship-based fitness routine. If she's not interested, review your list and pick another friend. There are women all around yearning to connect with others and to find the key to getting fit and living well. If you're persistent, you will find the right partner.

Once you do, determine the time and location each day that you will meet. Begin with a single goal: to meet each day (or at least 5 days a week) for a walk. Make the small promise to each other to show up every day. Then enjoy, as your own friendship-based fitness journey unfolds.

©2005, ConnectMoveTransform.com/Kim Murphy and Kris Carpenter

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream

Guest recipe by Anne Walker, Dabney Gough and Kris Hoogerhyde
Authors of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones: 90 Recipes for Making Your Own Ice Cream and Frozen Treats from Bi-Rite Creamery

Makes about 1 quart

5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
5 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (11/4 cups)
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Raspberry Swirl Sauce (page 142)
Make the base
1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of the sugar (2 tablespoons). Set aside. Put the chopped chocolate in another medium heatproof bowl and set that aside as well.
2. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar (2 tablespoons) and put the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
3. Carefully scoop out about 1⁄2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, whisking the eggs constantly, add the cream to the bowl with the egg yolks. Repeat, adding another 1⁄2 cup of the hot cream to the bowl with the yolks. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
4. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thickened, coats the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula, 1 to 2 minutes longer. 
5. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl with the white chocolate and whisk to combine. Set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Freeze the ice cream
6. Whisk the vanilla into the chilled base.
7. Freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. 
8. As you transfer the ice cream to the storage container, drizzle in some raspberry purée after every few spoonfuls. When all the ice cream is in the container, use a chopstick or butter knife to gently swirl the mixture. Enjoy right away or, for a firmer ice cream, freeze for at least 4 hours.

Raspberry Swirl Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup | Pictured on page 140

2 half-pint baskets raspberries (2 cups), preferably organic
1/3 cup sugar
1. Combine the raspberries and sugar in a small nonreactive saucepan and put the pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has a jammy consistency, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium as the mixture thickens to prevent scorching.
2. Remove from the heat and let cool for a minute. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth, being careful to avoid hot splatters. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much purée as possible. 
If using as a topping, serve warm or at room temperature; chill well before swirling into ice cream. 
“Reprinted with permission from Sweet Cream & Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker, and Dabney Gough, copyright © 2012.  


Guest recipe by Judith Fertig and Karen Adler
Authors of Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked: 300 Foolproof Recipes for Everything from Amberjack to Whitefish, Plus Really Good Rubs, Marvelous Marinades, Sassy Sauces, and Sumptuous Sides
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

For this recipe, choose a firm-fleshed fish such as U.S. farm-raised catfish. 
Serve this with Texas pecan or the more fragrant jasmine rice.

Serves 4
1 pound U.S. farm-raised catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths on the bias
1 cup chopped Napa cabbage
Toasted sesame seeds to garnish
For the Lemongrass Marinade:
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh lemongrass (available at Asian markets)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon nam pla or bottled fish sauce, (available in the Asian section of grocery stores)
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1. Place the fish, onions, and cabbage in a large seal able plastic bag. In a medium bowl, mix the Lemongrass Marinade ingredients together and pour over the fish mixture in the plastic bag. Seal, then toss to coat the fish and vegetables with the marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal, gas, or wood pellet grill. Spray a grill wok with cooking spray and place over the sink or outside on the grass. Pour the marinated fish and vegetables into the wok, allowing the excess marinade to drain away. Place the wok on the grill. Using wooden paddles or grill spatulas, turn and toss the fish and vegetables until the
fish is opaque and the vegetables have lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve over rice, garnished with toasted sesame seeds.


Guest recipe by Judith Fertig an Karen Adler
Authors of Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked: 300 Foolproof Recipes for Everything from Amberjack to Whitefish, Plus Really Good Rubs, Marvelous Marinades, Sassy Sauces, and Sumptuous Sides
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

1. Select only the freshest fish and shellfish. Fresh fish has a glistening, dewy look, a sweet or briny smell of the sea, and a somewhat firm texture. Shellfish has a sweet or briny smell of the sea, too. Ask to smell the fish or shellfish before you buy. Even the slightest odor of ammonia means the fish is not the freshest. You can also judge freshness by texture-if you
press the center part of a fillet or steak with your finger and the impression stays, the fish is not fresh. If you're buying a whole fish, look at the eyes-if clear and bright, the fish is fresh; if opaque or cloudy, the fish is not fresh. If you buy flash-frozen fish or shellfish, make sure it
still frozen when you buy it. You'll have the best luck if you buy your fish from a reputable and knowledgeable fishmonger-he or she can help you select the best options.

2. Handle fish and shellfish carefully. Always keep fish and shellfish chilled before grilling. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water, then pat dry. Discard any oysters, clams, or mussels with cracked or open shells.

3. Marinate fish and shellfish for only 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator before grilling. Marinating longer could mean an overpowering flavor of the marinade instead of the delicate flavor of fish. The vinegar or citrus juice in the marinade could also "cook" the fish and you'll end up with ceviche. However, there are some types of firmer-textured or oily, full-flavored fish
and shellfish-such as bluefish, mackerel, marlin, monkfish, octopus, shark, tuna, or squid-that can take a longer marinade.

4. For grilling, it is preferable to leave the fish skin on. Always place a fillet flesh side down first, then turn halfway through grilling onto the skin side. This technique helps the fish fillet hold together better during grilling.

5. Grill just about any fish or shellfish you like. Very thin and delicate fish such as Dover sole or lake perch are better sauteed or broiled. Catfish fillets are great on the grill because they hold together well and taste great.

6. Grill over a hot fire. Hold your hand 5 inches above the heat source. If you can only leave your hand there for 2 seconds, your fire is hot.

7. The general rule for grilling fish is 10 minutes per inch of thickness. For a fillet or steak that is 1 inch in the thickest part, you grill flesh side down for 5 minutes, then turn and finish grilling for 5 minutes on the skin side. For shellfish, grill for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until the shellfish becomes more opaque and firm in texture.

8. Test for doneness by making sure the fish and shellfish are opaque and somewhat firm. Most fish are done when steaks or fillets begin to flake-not a dry flake, but more a moist separation and you see a clear liquid-when tested with a fork in the thickest part. For firmer-fleshed varieties such as farm-raised catfish, monkfish, sturgeon, walleye pike, or eel, the fish flesh should be all one color, when tested in the thickest part, and the texture
firm. If you prefer your salmon or tuna on the medium-rare side, look for opaque pink or grayish brown on the outside, glistening reddish pink or dark purple-red on the inside, just as you would judge the doneness a beef steak. Shellfish are done when they turn more opaque and firm up in texture. Underdone fish or shellfish can always be put back on the grill or zapped in the microwave for a few seconds. Overcooked fish or shellfish can't be rescued.

9. Grill gadgets that rule: two long-handled wide metal spatulas for fish steaks or fillets and long-handled tongs for shellfish. For delicate fish like flounder or skate wings and very small shellfish like clams or baby squid, use a perforated grill rack, disposable aluminum pans, Nordic ware fish boat, or aluminum foil as a base so that the fish won't fall through the
grill grates. Although your fish or shellfish won't have grill marks, it will still have the flavor of the grill-and be a lot easier to remove. Perforated grill woks allow you to stir-grill marinated fish and vegetables together. 

10. Because you never know what fish or shellfish will be the freshest when you shop, be ready to substitute. You'll want to match the same firm, moderate, or delicate texture and mild, moderate, or full flavor of the fish or shellfish you originally planned on. For example, if cod is unavailable or not very fresh, substitute U.S. farm-raised hake, hoki, whiting, or
turbot-similar matches in delicate texture and mild flavor. In place of moderate-textured and mild-flavored red snapper, try catfish, grouper, haddock, orange roughy, walleye, or whitefish. In place of firm-textured, mild-flavored shrimp, substitute lobster, prawns, soft shell crab, or even halibut or monk fish.

Tamarind-Glaze Flank Steak with Mango-jicama Salsa

Guest recipe by Hope Fox & Chef Kunz
Author of Impress for Less! (finally...terrific recipes from the finest restaurants that you can really make at home) 

Legendary chef Gray Kunz took New York by storm when he opened Café Gray in 2004, a 200-seat brasserie designed by David Rockwell in the Time Warner Center. With its leafy Central Park views and high-profile address, Café Gray is the perfect showcase for Kunz’s synthesized cuisine, a product of his international upbringing and stints in the illustrious kitchen of Fredy Girardet in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Regent Hotel in Hong Kong. New York magazine described Kunz’s cuisine as “not so much fusion as the product of a man fluent in the food languages of Europe, India, China, and Southeast Asia.” After all, this is the same chef who earned a four-star rating from the New York Times while at Lespinasse, which Zagat rated as New York’s Best Overall Restaurant for three years in a row. In 2003 the Culinary Institute of America heralded him as a Master of Aesthetics, an award given to only a handful of culinary professionals.

Chef Kunz creates layered dishes composed of intriguing ingredients that add up to a single, bold statement. A few cases in point are his bouquet of pencil asparagus with fresh peas, mint, and yogurt; black bass with ancho chiles, coriander, and mussel-clam broth; or coconut-coated red snapper with crabmeat and green papaya. Ask for a seat in the showcase kitchen, where the chefs dance the well-choreographed waltz of impeccable gastronomy.
Chef Kunz uses concentrated tamarind paste to give an exotic jolt to the barbecue glaze for this steak.

Tamarind Glaze

1 cup tamarind paste (or 1 cup pureed mango)
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 cup water
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup peeled jícama, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Cayenne, to taste
Coarse salt, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Flank Steak
11/2 pounds flank steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cayenne, to taste
Coarse salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Serves 6

1. To make the tamarind glaze, in a medium saucepan, combine the tamarind paste, tomatoes, ginger, honey, cumin, coriander, and water. Place over low heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
2. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discard the solids, and return the sauce to the pan. Simmer again, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
3. To make the salsa, in a large sauté pan over high heat, heat the oil. Add the bell pepper and jícama and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the mango and remove from the heat. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.
4. To make the flank steak, brush the steak with the oil and season with cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Preheat an outdoor grill or heat a grill pan over high heat. Grill the steak, turning once, until it reaches the desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare.
5. Let the steak rest 5 minutes, then slice into thin slices on the bias. Coat the steak with the tamarind glaze, garnish with the salsa and chopped cilantro, and serve.

chef’s notes:
Tamarind paste is made from the pods of the feathery tamarind tree native to Latin America and the Caribbean. The pulp of these pods is mixed with water, and the resulting liquid is used as a souring agent in beverages, curries, soups, and other dishes. Tamarind is a very common ingredient in Thai and Indian cuisines. It is available in Asian markets and in some large supermarkets.
Jícama is a large, bulbous root vegetable that is popular in Mexican and other Latino cuisines.

Sangria Scorcher

Guest recipe by Kara Newman
Author of Spice & Ice 

This sangria may look delicate, but don’t be fooled by its appearance: it packs a good dose of heat. One of our drink testers referred to it as “a pink pit bull.” 
Recipe makes two (2) cocktails:
1 Red chili pepper, sliced
2 ½ oz White wine
1 oz Vodka (infused with hot peppers, if desired)
1 oz Triple Sec
½ oz Fresh lime juice
1/3 oz Elderflower liqueur
½ oz Cranberry juice
1 Tbl Cucumber, diced
Lemon-lime soda
In a tall glass, muddle the chili pepper. Add a scoop of ice, and stir in the remaining ingredients. Top up the glass with lemon-lime soda. 

Refreshing Your Search for Work- The Five Key Questions

Guest post by Karen Okulicz
Author of Decide! How to Make Any Decision

Labor Day is a special time that often times triggers a desire to put away the old and begin anew. Many people look to make changes in their career the same way they pick up the beach chairs and towels and get ready for the fall. They begin to start anew with a fresh attitude towards their job search whether it is for a change of work or to ramp up a current, stagnant search from unemployed to employed.

The Five W’s are:

“WHERE” do you want to work?

Easy question. Answer YES and NO. Why are you reaching out to companies with long commutes into the city, if you don’t want to work in the city” Why are you sending resumes to locations and companies that don’t interest you, are too far away, or meet your personal needs. Why are you spending time this way at all? Answer the question and stick to your guns. 

Every age in life has different responsibilities. If you are single and have no kids, then maybe the job on the road would be great for a year or so. But if you are married with kids and want to see them and your spouse every day, then you need to adjust your “Where” to fit. Right now offers the greatest job market for employment flexibility. You just have to decide to make it work for you. Answer the question “Where” so that you identify what is best for your personal needs.

Then ask yourself some more questions to get a closer fit. How will you get to this place, (e.g., by car, bus, train, walk, bike)? What will be wearing when you get there? What time will your get there? Do you want to work days, nights, or swing? These are the details you need to really know for each Where you consider. So, when at an interview and you are told you have to work late or weekends and this doesn’t fit for you. You might want to think about the work offered. 

“WHO” do you want to work with? No kidding, but you really do have a choice. Who will you be working with at every new place of work you consider? Maybe you would like be on a team or will enjoy liked minded people. Maybe you prefer large organizational structure? On the other hand, maybe you work best alone, out in the field with very little interaction or minute-by-minute supervision? Do you work with the same people every day or will you have mix of contacts?

You know what you like. You have to ASK these detail questions and get the answers so that you can make a good decision, know exactly what you are getting yourself in to, and are not surprised and chagrined by who you end up spending most of your time with each day. Got it?

“WHEN” do you want to be WHERE and with WHO? The answer is NOW. Get up. Get Moving. Make the call. Go visit. Go to where you want to be. See for yourself. Volunteer for a day and see if that “dream work” will suit you. Spend some real time observing and studying what the new workplace actually looks like, what you will be wearing and who you will be working for and who you get to work with. You must acquire real knowledge and data so you can visualize and create a complete picture which enables you to make a good decision that it really does fit your needs. 

Whatever you are doing right now, at this very moment will determine and create the future success. Every moment is a crucial step in the process of getting from where you are, dead-stop unemployed or out of a dull job, to something better, more fulfilling, more flexible and more rewarding. 

Do something NOW. Get the Answers NOW.

“WHY” do you want to work? The answer to this question determines the outcome of your search. Is it for the fame and glory? Do you need to get something part time until your “Great American Novel” is picked up by a mainstream publisher? Do you need to work full time until the kids graduate from college? Do you need to work for the money and health benefits only? Are you just trying to get out of the house and be a part of the world? Are you looking to save the world? What’s in it for you?

“WHAT” do you want to be? There are basically three different work choices that can lead you choose to the perfect WHAT. 

a. A Job: Give time, energy and muscle for money. It is something that you get to pay the bills. A job you take until you finish, school, apprenticeship or whatever. It helps you cover expenses. It may be mentally or physically demanding, but its rewards are financial only. It is ‘doin’ what you gotta do’ to just get through.

b. A Career: You go to school for training and acquire skills, knowledge, expertise, perhaps a specialty or a trade. You may find yourself in a career because you felt you may like it or it was suggested to you. It may be challenging for you, but you think there could always be a better way to go. You may like your career and are comfortable with the choice, but then be glad to retire someday.

c. A Life’s Work: Ah! The pinnacle of all employment! You get to do something you love. You get to choose where, what and with who. You get to have passion for the things you do. You get to love what you do and lose yourself in this work totally. A career maybe a life’s work but, a job will never become one.

Remember working is NOT a life sentence. It is a choice.

All of us want to work in something that fits us and fulfills us.

If you are stuck, not sure what to do or what you want to be, ask yourself, “On your worst day of your work, what did you say to yourself on the way home?” 

The answer to this question gives you the primary clues to what you should be looking to adjust for the better.

Did you say:

“I have to get out of here. I can’t take this place any more. 

“I can’t work with these people any longer?” 

“I want a break from this schedule, this commute, this routine?”

“I want a break from these commitments.”

“I want to make my kids’ baseball games, soccer practice, ballet class.” 

“I want to make my favorite yoga class, knitting circle, take a walk?”

“I want time for ……..

“I want to delete…..

“I need a break from…..

Now fill in the blank!

“I would love to find……

…. a closer commute

……better hours

……more interesting projects

….. better salary

“I need to learn….. 

“I should look into……

Pay attention. It is always on our worst days that we get the best clarity out of what bothers us. Issues can be dormant and hidden for long periods of time. On the worst day, what needs to change comes right to the surface. So pay attention. 

Now you begin to realize what is really not right for you. Now you get to focus on where you are right now and what needs to be adjusted.

This doesn’t mean you go into work the next day and quit. That only happens in the movies or with big time lottery winners.

This knowledge must give you is a new direction. This is the start of the new path to build something better. What do you do?

Answer the five questions. Write the answers down. The act of doing so will create physical movement that helps you move forward. You want to use the new feelings and discoveries help you change the current situation. Write it down.

You are gathering clues to what is next. What direction are you to take?

Probing for the answers is next. Whether you are unhappily employed, or under-employed, or unemployed, you must focus on the answers. Take pause. Let the questions rest. Take care of yourself. Spend some time on your favorite hobby. Don’t use food, or alcohol to cloud over your thoughts. Think clearly and focus.

The answers to some of these questions may lead you to feeling uncomfortable. You may realize that you will have to leave your comfort zone or leave people you carte about. You might not be able to go back to something you once loved doing. It may also be true that times have changed and the industry you knew and loved is gone.

Change is a challenge. But sometimes, it’s just time to go.

The Five W’s give you the best clues to the best approach for you.

This will save you time and unnecessary spent funds spinning your wheels in the wrong directions.

Get the answers, make the adjustments. It is simple and simplicity breeds success.

Overkill at Work

Guest post by Karlin Sloan
Author of Smarter, Faster, Better: Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership

Mitchell thinks he's impressing his boss by e-mailing her on weekends.

Eileen believes she's protecting her job by being the last one to leave at night.

Najit feels she's nurturing her client relationships because she never says "no" to a request.

What's wrong with this picture? Why are we killing ourselves? And how do these things really make us look? I'm all for hard work and dedication, but the last thing I want to see from my team is people burning themselves out-or putting on a performance for my benefit. 

Today I hear more and more "overkill" stories. The good news? They beg a conversation about energy management-versus time management-and why it's an increasingly relevant concept in a global, technology-fueled work environment.

By all accounts, "energy management" is a term coined by Nina Merer, a corporate trainer and coach practicing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Merer's energy management programs took traditional time management concepts and turned them on their head-reframing them for prioritizing people's energy resources.

Energy management is both art and science. To better manage your energy, you need an equal amount of input to output. Deplete your energy stores without "recharging" them, and you sabotage your ability to work efficiently and effectively. 

It's great to demonstrate commitment and competence to your company, but how do you know when "above and beyond" becomes overkill and puts your energy at risk? The answer lies in three questions:

1. Is what I'm doing sustainable over time? 

2. Is what I'm doing something that really adds value?

3. If what I'm doing isn't sustainable and doesn't add value, 
am I gaining something important from it?

If you can't answer "yes" to any of these questions, you've got something to think about-and that's boundary setting.

Setting Boundaries: Rules of the Road

Follow these three simple yet powerful rules, and you can avoid sacrificing your "ROEI"-return on energy investment.

1. Your time and energy are valuable.

If you don't protect your energy, who will? Unless you are superhuman, you need to set up some parameters about when you will-and won't-jump to the rescue or go beyond the call of duty. Everything feels important-your boss, your customers, and your short- and long-term deliverables-so how do you balance it all? Prioritize the time that most feeds your energy-versus simply doing or reacting-and set clear expectations of what you can and cannot do. 

A coach on my team recently told this story: Two principals in a mid-sized organization hired Ken, an outside consultant, to facilitate an upcoming team meeting. When the principals expressed concern about holding the meeting in the company conference room-a space they had custom designed and built for their new offices-Ken asked them why. "Because we always get interrupted when we're there versus offsite, and it makes it impossible to get anything done." The interesting assumption here is that they can't set boundaries when they're in the office, but they can when they're at a remote location. It's not that other things don't crop up when they're offsite, it's that they just don't know about them. Their challenge was to set clear boundaries at the office-absolutely no interruptions-and, to be able to use their new conference room to do productive work. 

2. You don't have to kiss up to look good.

I agree with Dr. Wayne Dyer, well-known author and speaker in the field of self-development, who says, "We teach others how to treat us." At work, you teach others to respect you by respecting your own time and energy-and refusing to be at others' beckon call.

Stan, one of my executive coaching clients, is a key account director for a big-name global consulting firm. One of his clients is very demanding and frequently calls Stan at night and on weekends. Instead of "redirecting" his client to reserve these calls for business hours, Stan makes himself available 24/7 and works hard to meet every request. Unfortunately, this behavior is not sustainable nor is it adding any value. Stan's core belief-the client always comes first-is admirable, but what happens when that belief actually ceases to serve the client? Stan is often so physically and mentally exhausted that he doesn't do his best work. With good intentions, he has created a dynamic in which his client expects him to go above and beyond at all times-at all costs. Stan's challenge is to create a new dynamic, set limits, and show his client that he delivers his best work when he preserves his time and energy. 

3. You have a choice-sustainability or burnout.

To perform at the top of your game, it's critical to work in ways that stave off fatigue and burnout. Sustainable work practices support your ongoing role and responsibilities over time-not just in the heat of the moment.

One key is to stop blaming others for your overwork, and start taking responsibility for setting your own boundaries. Doc Childre, an expert on optimizing human performance and personal effectiveness, teaches that blame is one of the biggest contributors to low or lost energy. Sure, there are those "human" moments when you point a finger or complain about something or someone. In the end, however, you do have a choice. You can choose when to go above and beyond, when to set and stick to your boundaries, and when to adapt to a certain work environment-or to leave that environment if what you're doing isn't sustainable or adding value, or you're not gaining something important from it.


Guest post by Kalliope Barlis
Author of Play Golf Better Faster: The Classic Guide to Optimizing Your Performance and Building Your Best Fast

There are several reasons golf is the most often played sport by 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. The following benefits associated with the game are the most valuable to people in busi-ness: 

The Golf Course as a Meeting Room
Many executives wisely leave the office to discuss important business deals and choose the golf course as their meeting ground. During a round of golf, all players are enjoying themselves. When someone is looking to buy a product, he or she has plenty of places and people to buy it from. So who will make the sale? The underlying truth behind all sales is feelings—specifically, good feelings. When someone feels good around you, that person is more likely to buy what you are offering. During a round of golf, you have plenty of time between shots to build rapport and create a lasting connection for future business deals while you close the deal on the course. 

Golf Reveals the Content of a Person’s Character
A golf player reveals much about his or her character while playing the game. Golf is the most challenging game because it starts from a moment of stillness that triggers into a sophisticated movement. It causes people to behave in ways that tells us much about how they respond to the world around them. A golfer who remains steady through good shots and bad shots often indicates how he or she behaves in business. Successful golfers play methodically and with precision, showing that they are able to deal with anything that comes their way. 

Utilize Strategy and Plan for the Future
Golf requires strategy. When a golfer views an aerial perspective of a hole—from tee to green (on the GPS system or yardage book)—it is easier to plan a strategy for where to land the ball to have an easier shot to the hole. Although this does necessitate motor skills, it is the creativity of someone’s mind that enables them to avoid hazards and land the ball in the target. This requires future planning, which when applied to business, illustrates the ability to avoid hazards and do what’s best for a business to achieve their target goals.

Golfers Reveal Their Honesty
Greg Norman removed himself from a tournament because he had two different brands of golf balls in his bag. No one may have ever noticed. But he did. Subsequently, he self-imposed his own disqualification. He played by the rules when no one was looking. A golfer reveals much about his honesty while scoring and playing, which mirrors his or her honesty in a work envi-ronment. Often, golfers are more trusted in business because the game requires honesty. 

Golfers Are Equal to Each Other
Golf allows people with different skill levels to play together on an equitable level as a result of the USGA handicapping system. This means that a CEO with a high handicap can play with a business affiliate with a low handicap. Some players with a low handicap may throw off their game and allow a person they are playing with to win just to seal a deal. This will likely backfire, as their dishonesty (see above) will surely be obvious. The handicapping systems was created so that all levels of golfers may enjoy fair competition and win fairly. Fair competition regardless of who wins the game is paramount in business.

Golf Is Happiness
Moe Norman—the most consistent ball striker of all time—said, “Golf is happiness.” And indeed it is! When you play golf with ease and with the goal of playing your best game, the level of en-joyment is increased for all the players. When people are happy, they make good business de-cisions. Play your best and become a catalyst for those decisions. 

You have the opportunity to reveal who you are in business while playing golf by: 1) Treating your client as your equal, 2) Approaching life with integrity and honesty, 3) Having a strategy that makes the most of your present moments to optimize your future, 4) Dealing with challeng-es, strategically and avoiding hazards to progress and achieve your goals. In this way, you cre-ate a foundation for long-lasting business alliances with golf as the link that connects you to your next finished deal.