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A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Favor

I get a lot of emails.  I guess that term "a lot" is relative.  I don't know what a lot is, but for me the number of emails I get per day from women and more than a few men is a lot.  Every single day I get emails with people telling me very personal and difficult things that they have experienced.  Many have never told anyone else.  The email to me is often the first time they shared what awful thing they went through.  Some are stories of near misses, some parallel mine and some are so gut wrenchingly awful that it takes me a bit to get through them.  But, I do.  I read every word and offer whatever support I can and I spend an enormous amount of time on my knees for these women. 

I would like to share one of those stories with you.  This is probably going to be a story like you have never read before.  It will probably challenge many of your emotions, but I ask that you take the time to read it.

When you are finished reading the story I would like for you to stop and think how different things could have been if any of the women had a weapon and/ or training.   Then I would like you to consider going here and donating money to help Erin become trained and armed.  I do not normally advertise(although this is the second time in a week) when I donate money to certain causes, but if I am asking you to give then it is fair that you know that I already have.

It's Not A Gun, But I Am Still Smiling

Everyone here probably knows by now I love my Remora holsters.  I mean I love them.  They are comfortable and work perfectly for my lifestyle, but I have been wanting an OWB holster for a while and I wanted it to be pretty.  My husband loves his from Dragon Leatherworks so much, I thought I would buy another one from them and I am sure I will someday, but one day I read a post by Jennifer about her husband, Michael, designing and donating a holster for one of our service members overseas.  I am a big fan of our men and women who serve our country, so I popped on over to his site and was very impressed with what I saw. 

I sent an email to Michael at The Holster Site and said something like "I want a holster, but I have no clue what I want".   I might have given him a bit more to work with but not much. I knew I wanted a holster that went on my belt, was low profile, and was girly, but not over the top. He emailed me back right away and we tossed around a few ideas, came up with a price, I sent off the money and a few weeks later I had my brand spakin' new holster.

I was crazy excited when I got the tracking number and saw the arrival date.  My mailman was not quiet as excited to see me as I was to see him.  One time I was stalking around my house practicing dry fire and he came to the door, ever since then he pretty much just tosses my packages in the vicinity of the porch.  However on that day I met him at the mailbox and snatched the box from his hands.  I was smiling and all "Oh, hi, is that for me?" "I am so happy to see you."  and he was all "Yeah", and had a look on his face like, please for the love of God woman just go back into your house.  I guess a hyper active housewife with an enthusiastic look in her eyes and gun makes some people uncomfortable.

I got into the house, ripped open the box, literally.  I am not using that cliched phrase for dramatic effect, I ripped that sucker open. Holy cow, it was awesome.  Since we just talked things over in an email, I didn't have an image of exactly what the color would be or any specific details, only abstract images in my mind.  I was just trusting Michael to translate my ideas into a workable holster and he did...except, when I went to put it on my belt my son said, "That is a right handed holster".  "No, no, it's not." I assured him.  "Mom, that is a right handed holster".  I went upstairs got my gun, checked to be sure it was unloaded, tried to put it in my holster, but guess what?  It was a right handed holster.  My stomach sank.

This was my next email to Michael, "I got the holster."  "It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen".  "Unfortunately, I am left handed."  His email to me.  "AGirl, call me."

In all the excitement of going back and forth talking about the design, I never mentioned that I was left handed.  I completely forgot to mention it.  Not a word, nothing, nada, zippo.  In case you are new to guns and have yet to order your first holster, I would like to offer you some handy dandy advice...Be sure to tell your holster maker if you are left handed.  Seems obvious, you say?  Well, who asked you?!

Since Michael is an incredibly kind and generous man, he said send it back and I will make you a new one.  I did and he did.  On Monday I received it!  Monday was not a good day for me, so I did not meet  the mailman at the mailbox and it's probably a good thing because the only worse than an excited housewife with a gun is one with red puffy eyes in sweat pants she has been wearing for 2 days.  I am kind of thinking if I would have met him at the mailbox like that, he would be leaving my packages at the neighbors from now on.

So without further ado...

I know, I know...SHE IS GORGEOUS!!!!!!  I am in love with this inanimate object and yes, I have on occasion over the past few days, just held it up to my nose and breathed in the leather.  I have also opened up the bolt action on Anastasiya and got a little high on her scent as well.  Do not anyone email me telling me how dangerous lead is or the corrosive properties of Russian ammo, I don't care.  I don't smoke, I don't drink a lot, I don't drive fast, I work out, I eat healthy, I go to the doctor annually for all of those lovely little tests, I take a mutli vitamin, and I carry a gun. I don't exactly live life on the edge, but regardless of the risks, I am going to sniff my rifle from time to time.

It's possible, I got off topic again.  Let me bring this back this man and pray that he is not too busy to make you your own thing of beauty, which also happens to be extremely well made.  I don't know much about holsters, but I do know quality and folks, this is it. It is still brand new, so I am not wearing it yet, as I am safely breaking it in, but I will give you an update when I put it into actual service. 

Thank you again, Michael!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Am Ok

I love you all so much.  I really do.  The emails from you expressing your concern for me are deeply touching. I consider myself very fortunate to have the family and friends that I have and that feeling is extend to you all.

I am not sure I can explain this clearly, but I am going to try.  I am fine.  It's not an illusion or something I am trying to convince myself of.  I am fine.  More than fine.  This year has had some bad times, down right rough.  It has only been 12 months. I think I said this the last time I kind of freaked. Am I to the point where I am not effected at all by the memories? No, but I am ok with that.  I want to feel.  I do not want to become callus or dead inside.  Yes, I feel pain, anger and sadness, but I also feel love, and joy and passion.  I have hopes and dreams and goals for my future.

When I get mad, hurt, angry or frustrated, I write.  I don't over eat or under eat. I don't drink or shop to much.  I do not have thoughts of hurting myself or others, not even the idiot that attacked me.  I am for the most part sleeping and I haven't had a single nightmare in forever. 

I am a mom and a wife and I have always been protective of those I love.  I try to keep it together for them, but sometimes I need to let it out and so I come here and I write.  I kind of agree with Amy.  I wish I could let it out.  I wish I could yell and scream and cuss and throw something.  But, I can't.  I would scare my family.  If I acted like that, they would think I had completely lost it and they would worry.  I don't want them to worry because I am fine.  I can't write a crazed post on here because you all would worry.  I have only written a couple post that are a little nutty and it draws so much care and concern.  If I ranted and raved I am afraid the Calvary would be sent.  I don't want to discourage anyone from giving advice or checking on me, I love it, but I do want you to know that at core of who I am, I am more than good. 

Before the attack, before guns were a part of my life, I was concerned with safety. We had an house alarm and we used it, still do.  We locked our doors and we looked both ways before we crossed the street. I always wore my seat belt and I would never get in a car that didn't have one and anyone who rode with me, regardless of age, had to wear theirs.  I know that wearing a seat belt does not guarantee safety, but it ups the chances and I want to do everything within my power to assure survival should I be involved in an accident.  When we were in China to get our daughter, I had to ride in a van without seat belts. I climbed into a run down vehicle without seat belts and if you have ever been on a freeway in China then you know restraints are a must. I piled my entire family into this death trap on wheel and I didn't like it, but it is what I had to do, so i did it.  I felt uneasy, but not paranoid.  When we got back into the states and got into our car, I strapped my new child into a car seat and we all buckled up.  I am not afraid to be without my gun. I am uneasy.  I spent 2 weeks completely unarmed when I went to Minnesota.  I went to restaurants and the mall and into a seedy gas stations.  I felt uneasy, but I did it and as soon as I could, I put my gun back on.  Not because I am paranoid, but because I want to do everything I can to ensure survival should I be in a situation that would warrant it's use.

I do need support.  I do need to hear that I am doing the right things with my daughter and that I am not to blame, but I also need to be able to freak out a little. Reach out to me if you want, that is so nice, but don't worry.  I promise you I am a survivor. I promise I am human and sometimes weak, but I am not fragile.  I will not break! I don't mind reassuring you from time to time.  I am not annoyed at all over the concern, I just honestly do not want to cause you anxiety.  Really, I am ok. 


Ok, lets talk about some fun stuff like, guns!!  On Saturday I went to Fairfax Virginia and took a course called Personal Protection in the Home from the Good folks at Innovative Defensive Solutions.  I always am excited at an opportunity to train and to meet knew people, but when I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the class, I was not so excited.  I am not a morning person.  I am not really a night person either as I am usually in bed by 9.  I guess I am more of a mid to late afternoon person, but that is a bit off topic.

When I got to the classroom, I immediately ran into Lynne and got a big hug.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person.  She is the best.  Lynne introduced me to Evan Carson, President and Chief Instructor.  For some reason I was nervous to meet him, but there was no need.  He was nice and I was very comfortable chit chatting with him.  Of course, I had to disarm, which I hate.

I completely understand the need to do this.  I think it makes perfect sense and I know there really is no other safe way to conduct a class, but I still hate it.  For the first few minutes I took a look around the room at the people there, I can tell you where everyone sat and what they were wearing.  I don't know why I paid attention to that, but I did.  I looked at the windows and the doors.  We were in a hotel and I thought if someone goes on a rampage, I am not in the best spot.  I have no idea, but I am assuming Evan and his partner, Dave were armed, but I would not be their first priority and plus I have this little thing about being able to defend myself.  I felt safe and comfortable there and I was not overly paranoid, but I am just saying I prefer to have my gun.

At the very beginning of the class Evan purposed a question and one of the ladies in the class answered.  Her answer did not sit well with me, so I said something.  I am not going to get into the specifics because it will come out way more dramatic than it was and also, I do not want to open her up to any kind of criticism.  Sometimes you lovely people try to defend me and by doing so, you get feisty with others.  I love that, but she was a sweet, sweet woman and she meant no harm.  The reason I bring it up at all is because it might be the first time I have ever confronted someone.  I can't say 100% for sure that I have never said something to someone, but if I have it was rare.  I was so nervous about doing it, my hands shook.  I tried to pick up my coffee cup to calm myself and I had to set it back down because the liquid was literally jumping out of the cup.  I think people thought I was upset about the topic, but I was really terrified about speaking up.  After, I had I felt awful and I apologized to her and the instructors about 10 times.  Occasionally I think about the exchange and I cringe.  I didn't yell or call her names and I probably handled it fine, but in hindsight, I wish I would have handled it differently.  The whole thing lasted about 5 minutes and everyone moved on.

The class itself was fantastic.  Both Evan and Dave Kirchgessner, Vice President and Instructor, are smart, smart, smart guys.  I learned a lot about things I had never thought about.  Like which floors in a hotel not to stay on.  That a bookcase full of books is pretty good cover.  That it is legal in Virginia for a 12 year old child to have access to a firearm.  I learned a lot.

One of the really cool things was that I got to train with Glock laser guns.  I loved that!  I was surprised by the level of detail both Evan and Dave have.  There were 3 of us students standing side by side, picking up our training guns, and shooting and these two men saw everything.  The first time, they walked around and checked our grip, stance, the usual and after a few times of that, we "drew" from the table top.  The guns were on the table, someone would say fight or go or whatever, we each picked up a gun, aimed, fired.  At one point Evan asked me if that was my normal grip.  I looked and said yes and he said, really because earlier it looked like your index finger was a little higher up on the slide.  I looked and he was right.  I had picked up the gun quickly and my grip was not right. 

The class offered a lot if insight to mindset and ideas for thinking out a plan.  They talked about laws and different scenarios.  Very, very helpful information and I really did learn a lot, but I walked away from that class with a valuable bit of information about myself that I didn't realize until I left there.  I have learned a lot this past year.  I knew a fair amount about the laws in Virginia and how to apply them.  I understood every term they used or lets say 99%.  I learned things, but I was not lost.  That made me feel very confident in myself. 

My favorite part of the class was when we got to go to the range and shoot.  I know that surprises all of you.  The classroom discussion is as important and I did enjoy it, but nothing makes me happier than a loaded gun and a place to shoot it.  The range we went to was the NRA range.  I had never been there before, so I had to take a test and fill out some paperwork.  A lot of people think the test is dumb and I thought it might be, but it was fine.  I knew all the answers to the basic gun rules etc, but I had to use their book to find answers about their specific range rules.  I was happy to have that info because their rules are much different from the indoor range I shoot at and I would have broken several rules had I not had the test.  It's a good range, but I didn't like everything about it.  It's clean and the people are so, so nice, but the parking garage is creepy and dimly lit.  I did not enjoy walking from my car to the range and the place was packed.  A 3 hour wait to shoot.  It is good that so many people were there, but I would not enjoy waiting and waiting.  For one thing, I rarely have that kind of time, so I fear if that were my only choice, I would not get much training time.  Here is what I loved...

The targets move!!!  They have these neat computerized targets that can be set to do different things.  I got so exited about that!  It was crazy cool.  The way things worked out, I got one on one instruction from Dave for about 30-45 minutes.  That was a huge.  He had me do all kinds of things I have never done before.  He set the target to turn to the side and then flip at different intervals.  He stood behind me and called out, 1 shot or 2 or 3.  When the target flipped to face me, I was to shoot before if flipped back.  That was fun.  We also did drills where I was on one knee.  Dave put my gun on the floor, magazine out, then he would say go, I would pick my up M&P, load it, shoot 2 shots, then stand up and shoot 2 more.  He most certainly challenged my skill and my ability to handle a little stress.  The NRA does not allow any pictures of any kind, so I got nothing to prove it, but I did pretty well I think.  When my time was up, Dave said, "I don't really have much to tell you".  He was not saying I was the best shooter ever and for me to go apply for Top Shot, I think what he was saying was that I have good solid fundamentals and if I continue working, I will improve.  At least that is what I hope he meant.  I had a blast!!

Innovative Defensive Solutions offers a variety of courses and I would strongly encourage you to attend one or two or all. 

A Little Clarity

Yesterday's post was suppose to be about my course at Innovative Defensive Solutions, but a conversation with my daughter changed that.

My morning was going beautifully.  I was in a very chipper mood, the kids were doing well, no one was sick, the sun was shining and my husband made me a delicious cup of coffee.  Who could ask for anything more?

About 15 minutes before the school bus came to pick up the kiddos, my 8 year old asked if she could talk to me.  I said "Sure sweetcheeks, what's up?"

"I was wondering if I am old enough to shoot the bad guy?"  "I mean, if there is another bad guy, can I shoot him?" She has asked this before.  Several times.  I think she is just looking for reassurance.  I tell her the same thing I always tell, but this time her response was different.

I told her yes, she was old enough, but that she didn't have to worry because mommy was here and she was safe.(As an aside, I struggle with this. Our kids can't get to any guns in our house.  There is no way for her to shoot the bad guy and she follows the rules of NEVER touching a gun without asking)

"Yes, I know, but if you couldn't stop him from hurting you then how will you stop him from hurting me?"

She has asked me before if I would keep her safe.  If I would protect her.  If dad would.  If brother would.  She has asked a lot, but she has never quite used those words to express her anxiety.  I think it's good that she did.  I think it is good that she came to me to talk.  I think it is good that she wants to learn to be responsible for her own safety.  I think it is good that she is looking for comfort and safety from her mommy.  I think it is good that she is honest with me. We talked about how I did keep her safe by putting her inside the car and mommy moved the bad guy away from her and some other things.  She felt better, for a minute at least.  I asked her if she wanted to stay home from school and talk more, but she said, no.  School is important.

I had a hard time letting her go.  I would like to say that I accepted the situation, that I took comfort in knowing it is healthy to talk and to discuss and that both of us are doing better everyday, but I didn't.  I ran my errands and came home to write my review of the class, but this came out instead.

I had a terrible day.  I was very emotional and spent most of my energy on not crying.  I was not all that nice to my family.  I just kept saying, I am in a really bad mood, please, please leave me alone and they did. I tried to distract my mind with computer games, cleaning and playing with my new holster, but mostly I was just awful. I was exhausted and crawled into bed fairly early, although I didn't sleep well and was up at 4am.  Around 5:30, I got out of bed and headed down stairs where I found these...

On the front door

On a mirror in the hallway

On the refrigerator

On the TV

My son had left notes all over the house for me to wake up to.  I am blessed.

Since I couldn't sleep I went blog hopping.  I stopped over at Miller's place and read some very sad news.  Maybe you all could pop over and lend your support.  Without the love and care of other's life can be pretty tough. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Price Is High

A month or so ago, I received a gift from The Gun Divas.  Two books by Gavin De Becker.  I was currently reading 3 other books at the time, but that night the books came, I opened up one, the Gift Of Fear and began reading.

The book opens with a story about a woman named Kelly.  Kelly is in the stairwell of her apartment complex on her way up to her apartment when she encounters a man.  She has never seen him before, but he seems nice enough. He offers to help, she says no, the have an exchange of words.  She isn't sure why, she is not comfortable with him. Nothing about him is scary.  He is dressed nice, he is being nice and he is making no threats at all. You probably have already guessed this does not end well. The man rapes Kelly in brutal fashion.

The guy who attacked me also was dressed nicely.  He had short well kept hair.  He was clean and he spoke very softly and he smiled. His eyes were cold and lacked soul.  My daughter's pictures are bone chillingly accurate and when she talks of that day, his eyes are the thing she often comes back to, but he smiled and he said all the right things a nice person is suppose to say.

I wish more classes would focus on the fact that many attacks on woman happen slower and are not quite as obvious as the person who runs up behind you and screams some threat.  Many attacks are fast and fit the profile of someone coming up behind, grabbing you and a struggle ensues, but I would hasten to guess, from my reading that there are an equal number of attacks that happen in a more stalking kind of way.  For women the bar room scene is less about a discussion that gets out of hand and quickly turns into a brawl and more of the profiling, get to know you, even though you don't trust me, get you to at the very least follow me outta here, kind of thing. No class has time to discuss every possible scenario, but I think it would be beneficial to at least mention that for women, it can be very different.  Often the wolf is in fact dressed like a sheep.

I was not raped, but much of my story and hers are the same.  A man we did not know approached us, uninvited and did not leave us alone when we asked. Kelly's guy also said things like "Don't worry"  "I won't hurt you"  Like me, she felt those words were the opposite of comforting.  She did make it out alive as did I, but not without some tough life lessons.  She threw herself into healing and learning how to never again be a victim. She says looking back she can see that her internal voice was talking to her, that her intuition had been guiding her along and she can see where she listened and that without knowing she did act on signals that helped her to save her own life.  My attack was interrupted, so I can not says as definitively as she can, but, I too, can see things I did right that day, that at the very least kept me alive until someone else came along. Kelly talks about being tired of feeling guilty for letting him get that close to her and tired of being blamed for being stupid. 

After I got home from Memphis I picked up the book again and began to read.  I am not surprised that the universe conspired that I would read the chapter I read the day after I wrote my post about the trip.

The author says: "I'v seen many times that after the shock of violence has begun to heal, victims will be carried in their minds back to the hallway or parking lot, back to the sights, smells, and sounds, back to the time when they still had choices, before they fell under someone's malevolent control, before they refused the gift of fear."

As I realized on the plane coming home, there was plenty of time for me to have made different choices between when I first felt fear and when he was on top me.  I was afraid and I did not act on that fear, not enough anyway.

DeBecker says, "Often they will say about some particular detail. I realize this now, but I didn't know it then.  Of course, if it is in their heads now, then it was in their heads then.  What they mean is that they only now accept the significance.  With denial, the details we need for the best predictions float silently by us like life preservers, and while the man overboard may enjoy the comfortable belief that he is still in his stateroom, there is soon a price to pay for his daydream.

The price is high.

"Maybe some good can come of this." "The weird thing is, with all this information, I am actually less afraid walking around now then I was before it happened-but there must be an easier way for people to learn."-Kelly

DeBecker, A woman could offer no greater cooperation to her soon to be attacker than to spend time telling herself, "But he seems like such a nice man".... A woman waiting for an elevator sees a man and she feels apprehension... How does she respond to natures strongest strongest survival signal? She suppresses it and says "I am not going to live like this."

The irony is that so many of us say, we are not going to live our lives in fear.  We are not going to learn how to protect ourselves or carry a gun because we refuse to let the bad guy win.  We refuse to give him that kind of power over our lives.  We use the excuse of not being afraid and that lie puts us in the most vulnerable position we can be in, defenseless. When you are out of excuses and when someone is lying on top you telling you exactly how they plan to take full control of your life, well, then you will get to experience the kind of life altering fear that Kelly and I did. 

There has got to be an easier way for one to learn.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Honest Gun Owners

Miller tagged me in a new gun meme, so here it goes...

 "I will write down 5 things that indicate, to me, that a gun owner or shooter maybe is an honest one; I say 'maybe' because I have known some seemingly honest gun owners to tell some really tall tales. Then I will tag 5 other gun owners who are also bloggers and I hope each will play along, each listing, in their blogs, at least 3 things that are indicative a gun owner is an honest one, then sending the challenge of this meme on to 5 other gun owner who are also bloggers."

1. They never claim to know everything about everything.

2. The do not recommend, to a brand new female shooter, the Judge.

3. They send you private emails as to not publicly embarrass you when you say or do something stupid.

4. They try to give you more than they take from you.

5.  They take things down about you if you ask them too.(Thanks Weer'd)

Five Blogs...

From Paranoid To Packin- this is personal.  This is one of my shooting partners from the Cornered Cat class and she just started a blog, but she isn't really bloggin, so I am hoping a tag will jump start her and also a little blog pressure too.  Go send her some love and tell her I sent you.

From Housewife to Hunter- Really neat blog.  Also brand new.

AKGRRRL- She isn't posting much either because she is always on FB.  It's wrong, just wrong, so again a little pressure.

Last Refuge of a Scoundrel-He posts and I like his blog.

A Midwestern Rebel-New blog to me and good stuff.

One more because I am practicing honing a skill I don't currently have...breaking the rules.
Monty On Guns

Friday, February 24, 2012

Misconceptions and Stereotypes

I have mentioned before that I struggle a little with how much of my gun tottin' ways to keep under wraps and how much to let hang out.  In the beginning I had no intention of ever letting anyone know I carried a gun.  My plan was to lead a normal life and to not advertise that I pack heat.

The thing is I started to become an advocate for woman and carrying and, of course,  I just plain love it.  I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal.  There is very little gray in my world.  When I am in, I am all in.  I am extremely passionate and I am a doer.  Not necessary 2 of the best qualities when trying to keep things on the down low.  I keep telling myself that carrying a gun is just part of who I am and I need not make it my whole life, problem is, it is my whole life.

I enjoy other things and I can carrying on a non gun centered conversation, but if I had my choice, I would pretty much talk about my kids, food and guns.  I love to shoot guns, I love to talk about them, I love to wear bullet necklaces.  I am not trying to make a statement or be cool(done been verified that I am not), I just wholehearted love all things weaponry. 

I also think we are living in a time where people who value their rights, not just to carry a gun, but certainly that, need to stand up and be accounted for.  It is become a rubber meets the road kind of situation and blending quietly into the background just might earn us the right to stay silent and not much else.

So, as I said earlier in the week, my plan was to go to Memphis and blend in, but anytime anyone asked me what I was doing or what I enjoyed, out came GUNS, GUNS, GUNS.  Ok, I was a little more subtle, but not much.  Without fail 100% of the time the first thing anyone said to me after I said I was heading to Memphis for pleasure to a shooting course was...Are you in law enforcement?  This did not bother me, much.  I understand that women shooters are still in the minority and especially if they look like me.  All I mean by that is a non descriptive plain ol' housewife.  There is nothing that screams hunter or gun nut, except the gun, the 2nd Amendment T-shirt and bullet necklace, but I wasn't wearing any of those that day.  The readers of this blog know that most people who shoot guns and hunt and are all nutty for firearms are regular people, but the rest of the world is not that well informed.  We know that they might be surprised at who is part of a well regulated militia, but since they don't know what they don't know, I was not offended.

What did bother me were the people that thought I was "sweet as pie" and "just lovely" until they found out I like to shoot and at that point decided I was now a scary threat.  Nothing changed about me, nothing.  I never, not once whipped out my gun or started making threats.  My squealing high pitched voice did not turn demonic and at no point did I attempt to sacrifice a small child and yet more than one person decided that by virtue of my gun, I was no longer a person who was afforded the right to be treated with decency or courtesy.  I was fair game to be rude or insensitive to.  I was not bothered in terms of how individual people viewed me as an individual.  Being out of junior high, I kind of don't care much, but it did bother me as a whole.  These people form opinions based on nothing more than fear and then go perpetuating a lie.  That bothers me.  Many of these folks vote and have influence over others and  that makes them a threat to me, not the other way around.

Alas, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  The gentleman that picked me up from the airport was named Kevin.  Kevin was the nicest man and he was full of opinions.  He talked and talked and told stories and I loved every minute I spent with him.  On Sunday, I needed to be picked up from Range Master and taken to the airport for my flight home.  Kevin got my bags, put them in the car and then started talking to me about gun owners and those who carry permits.

Kevin:  I don't understand all these new laws letting people carry guns.  It's crazy.

Me:  You are against laws that allow law abiding citizens the right to self protection?

Kevin: No, No, but there is so much crime in Memphis. Guns and killing every where.  I don't think we need any more guns.

Me: Do you think the laws that are made to protect the innocent are contributing to the crime in Memphis?

Kevin: I think some people are just using the new laws to get guns and carry them places they are not allowed and then shooting people up.

Me: Do you think that there are a lot of criminals that are concerned with following the laws?  Do you think the criminal needs a law in order to carry a gun into, say a bar and start a problem?

Kevin:  Huh,

Me: Kevin, I would encourage you to look up the statistics of gun related shootings and see how many of those involved licensed conceal carry permit holders and of those shootings how many were used for the purpose of self defense.  I am guessing you will find the number of licensed permit holders who commit crimes to be very low.  Please then compare that number to the gun crimes committed by people without a license.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Kevin:  Huh, good point  yes, good point.  You know mam. I can do that.  Yes, I will do that.

I have no way of knowing if he will or not check the numbers, but I tend to think he will.  He seemed genuinely concerned and not like he was looking to just find a reason to justify his point of view.

Conversations like I had with the man from Starbucks and Kevin lend me to believe, I am probably not gonna be one of the quiet ones.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's In a Name?

When I first started blogging, well, not at first, but several months into it as more and more bloggers were visiting and commenting here and I was visiting  their blogs more and more, the conversations with my husband started to take on a "Who's On First?" kind of feel.

Me: Babe, I went over to Weer'd's blog and he said...

Hubby:  Is that the guy from that black list thing?

Me: Nope, that's North

Hubby:  Oh right, the one who took you shooting and let you shoot his wife's 1911?.

Me:  No, no, that's Newbius.

Hubby:  I can't keep them straight. Your friends have strange names.  Is anyone just named Bob?  I am pretty sure that is why is his such a fan of going to the NC Gun Blog.  He can remember Sean.

Then a funny thing started to happen.  People started to give me nicknames.  AGHAG, AGirl, there were those few over on Reddit, but lets skip those.  Two of my favorite are Sweetie and Pretty Girl.  When I read those 2, it brings a smile to my face much like Garand.

So, the other day I was over at North's blog and I read this.  In the comment section He and Weer'd were discussing their wives and referring to them as Mrs. North and Mrs. Weer'd, which reminded me of Grumpy.  Grumpy started calling my other have Mr. AGirl.

I was not entirely sure how my man would take to being called "AGirl" in any context.  So, I asked him...

Hubby:  Yeah, I'm gonna kick that guys ass. 

Pretty sure he was joking though.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cornered Cat Training

A while back Girls With Guns sent me an email and in it she mentioned how fun it would be for The Cornered Cat to come to Virginia. I told her I thought that would be great fun and I asked her if she wanted me to look into it. Of course, was her answer.

My plan was to have Kathy Jackson come to Culpeper and hold a class at John's range.

I sent both John and Kathy an email to see if either of them were at all interested in doing a training. Both were and after months of working out all the details we have it set.

Cornered Cat Training will be held September 8-9 in Culpeper Virginia. This is a coed class. The cost of the 2 day course is $400 plus ammo. If you would like more information or if you are interested in attending you can email me at I will send you the registration form. Once you return that form and make full payment, I will email you information on hotels in the area, directions to the range, supply list for the class, etc.

Payment can be made through the paypal button on this blog.

Stay tuned for some exiting news!!
                                                 Cornered Cat: Concealed Carry


The Cornered Cat: Concealed Carry – This two-day class provides 18 hours of classroom and range instruction, taking students from the shooting basics through intermediate skill levels. Discussion topics include how to choose and use holsters for concealed carry; gun safety; the self defense mindset; and legal aspects of using deadly force in self defense. On the range, participants will review the basics of defensive handgun work, beginning with the fundamentals of grip, stance, sights and trigger control. Once the fundamentals are covered, students learn to draw from concealment, reload, clear malfunctions, use cover, shoot with one hand only, use alternative aiming techniques, and shoot while moving. Prospective students must be familiar with their own firearms and be prepared to fire over 500 rounds during the weekend.


What happens in a Cornered Cat class? Lots of great stuff! In this two-day class, I work with people who are already basically familiar with their guns and help them reach a more confident skill level, so that handling the gun comes much more naturally to them. What do you do if the gun doesn't fire when you expect it to? How do you reload it efficiently? Can you stay hidden behind a doorway or a piece of furniture and still hit a bad guy? Can you hit the target while moving away from danger, or in low light? Should you even try? These are the types of questions we deal with, because they teach us how we might use the gun in the real world, not just for plinking at the range. These are tough topics, but important ones. After all, the real world includes innocent bystanders. We owe it to them to learn real-life skills, so we don't endanger others when we defend ourselves.

Speaking of the real world, my specialty is helping people find their own best carry method—the one that works with your actual lifestyle, not just something you can use on the range—so I bring a pile of holsters and other carry gear to class. We discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly concealed carry in a very no-nonsense and practical way. Cornered Cat isn't afraid to tackle the embarrassing questions you might not feel comfortable asking elsewhere, either! I know you have a life outside the range, and that you don't want to look all lumpy and bulgy, so I help you find a carry method that truly works for the way you actually live and we discuss the nitty-gritty of making that work for you.

Why am I offering a class like this? For most people, wouldn't a basic concealed carry class be enough? I sure don't think so. I think regular people truly need to learn more, and become better prepared to keep themselves safe and keep others safe. People who have known me awhile know how seriously I take my decision to carry, and how hard I worked to learn the things I felt I needed to know in order to do that safely. Without exaggerating, I can tell you that I've spent the last ten years of my life getting to a place where I could turn around and share those things with you—that's how strongly I believe that every person who owns a gun for self defense should know how to use it well. Using it well means you are less likely to endanger others and more likely to protect your own life without getting hurt.

My goal: by the end of this class, each student will be prepared to confidently, safely, and efficiently practice the techniques she is most likely to need if a criminal attacks her. After all, if a woman ever needs to use the gun for real, she should be able to think about how to solve the problem rather than fumbling around with her holster or wasting precious brain cells trying to remember how to manipulate the gun.

Although it's a serious topic and you will learn useful skills, we're also going to have a lot of fun together, and I don't want you to miss out.

Guess What??

I am going to another training.  I am very excited about this one because not only do I get to spend all day  training, but I also get to finally meet a new friend face to face!

Several months ago Lynne from National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day sent me a lovely email and the two of us started emailing back and forth.  We found that we have a lot in common, some good qualities like wanting to help women and some not so good life experiences. Lynne is one of those amazing women that you just want to spend time with. One day she told me she had read that I was giving up money that I had saved for my own training and that I was offering that money to a new shooter.  Remember that little Give-A-Way I did?  Hi Mrs. Groundhog.  Well, she didn't want me to have to give up a training so she asked me if I would be interested in taking a course at the place where she instructs.  I told her I would absolutely love to, but that I would pay my own way.  She insisted that I not. We went back and forth on this, but eventually, I let her out nice me and I not so graciously accepted.  As it turns out, when she told Evan Carson, President and Founder of Innovative Defensive Solutions, LLC,  about me, he offered to let me take the course on him. 

What is the course you ask...I am attending the NRA Basic Personal Protection In The Home Course. 

So, this Saturday, I will be heading to Northern Virginia and adding to my resume another quality class taught by the one of the best.  I will, of course, tell you all about it.

As an aside, I want to say that my life is getting a little tiny bit hectic. I am playing catch up from my trip to Memphis and I am no where near close to being caught up. It is vitally important to me that none of my "life" comes before my kiddos.  Clearly, I believe training is paramount to my being able to stay alive, therefore, I can be a mommy for a good long time and is an important part of me being able to keep those little ones safe, but if I am not doing the right things...hugging, snuggling, reading, homework, making special meals and all that, being alive is not worth much.  Please understand that I might be neglecting you all, for the next few weeks, but I will do my best not to. 

I have another post on hold announcing an exciting venture(probably will post that later today) I am involved in. I also have 2 stories from 2 incredible women I have been wanting to share with you.  I have about 5 blogs I want to mention and I have just given up doing a quote of the day, even though there are 6 or 7 a day I could post.  Not sure when all of that will get taken care, but those are just a few things on my blog plate.

I am off to that life thing I have been talking about.  Have a marvelous day!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Cornered Cat

For a 2 day trip I have a surprisingly high number of things to tell you.  There are far to many for a single post and with trying to catch up with the rest of my life and working on other non Cornered Cat posts, I have decided to write one overview post and then incorporate other aspects of the trip with later posts.

I was surprised at how not nervous I was.  I kept waiting for the butterflies to develop and for me to break out in a cold sweat, but it never happened.  I hate to fly, hate it.  Well, I love to fly, but I am not fond of the plummeting to earth in a fiery blaze aspect of flying.  I was flying alone to a place I had never been, other than driving through on my way somewhere else. I was meeting people I had never met and I was going to be training in front of them.  I thought I would be nervous about how I would shoot, if I would embarrass myself or if I would be my typical self and just melt into the background.

I arrived at the airport and checked my in at the counter.  I let them know I had an unloaded firearm I needed to declare and the man behind the counter got a blank stare.  He was very, very nice, but he was not sure what to do, so I think he just started making things up.  I had my gun partially broken down and in a locked box and in a separate locked box, I had one box of personal protection ammo.  He insisted that I could not have ammo and my gun in the same suitcase.  I assured him I could.  He went on some diatribe about how if they were in the same suitcase someone could steal them and start shooting up the place.  This was second man that I came in contact with who seemed terrified about my gun.  Two more times he brought up how one of the workers in the back could gain access to my suitcase and have a full fledged rampage.  I don't know his fellow workers, so I did not argue the point, but I did calmly repeat that I could in fact travel the way I was traveling.  Finally, he decided to call TSA and they told him that it was fine.  I could.  Great. In hindsight, I should have printed out a copy of both the TSA rules as well as the guidelines for that specific airline.

I proceeded on to security and had my first naked body scan.  I am not overly modest. Meaning if I am in a locker room with a bunch of other women I have no issue showering or changing even if I don't know them, but for some reason this scan made me feel a little violated.  A while back, maybe 2 years ago, I had a friend bring up these scans and how she thought they were awful and I thought who cares?  Friday, I kind of cared.  Now, it was not a big deal.  I did cry or get all embarrassed, but as I stood there with my hands over my head, I thought, this does not feel right.

My plan was not to tell anyone where I was going or what I was doing, not sure why, but I thought it best not to.  That plan went out the window from the second I sat down on the first flight and did not end the entire trip.  I sat down next to a very nice couple from Virginia who are on a grand adventure moving to the midwest.  The usual chit chat...Hi, Nice to meet you.  Traveling on business or pleasure?  What are you doing in Memphis?  That kind of thing.  The husband has a carry licenses and likes to shoot and she is thinking about it.  They have friends that shoot etc.  As I waited for my next flight a man sat down next to me and we exchanged similar pleasantries.  He owns several guns.  A Sig, a Glock a Kahr etc. and he knew a lot about them.  We discussed carry laws in different states and what not, but he has only shot about 20 rounds in his life.  He is more of a collector he said. I just smiled.  I have 6 or 7 other conversations like these all weekend long.  One with my driver that I will tell you about later.

Made it to Memphis got picked up and headed to my hotel and then a very nice lady, Ericka, who reads my blog picked me up and we went for dinner.  I have a lot to say about this woman, but it will have to wait, but I LOVE her.  Kindness and generosity ooze from her every pore.

Lots happened that night, but lets skip to the next morning at the training.  I walked into the room with Ericka and the only available seats were in the front, so up to the front we went.   I held true to form and didn't say much of anything.  I just sat there and listened to all the Kathy had to say.  She gave the basic run down on safety and why we were all there.  Gave us an overview of the day and then we headed to the range.  She gave a demo on the draw from a holster and what she wanted us to do and then we partnered up and proceeded to run some drills.  I don't want to brag here, but seriously, I was shooting like a champ.  Both Ericka and I had shot several rounds into the same target from varying distances and our target had a nice tight little group.  I would like to say here that I planned to take a lot of pictures, but I tend to get very serious at training and I just didn't do it.  I took some, but not many.  I did not feel nervous, but for the first time in months, I did revert back to my habit of taking several minutes between shots.  Kathy walked up, whispered in my ear to trust myself and take the shot.  I did and my accuracy improved.

Kathy is the perfect mix between caring, calm, supportive, gentle while being confident, strong, in control and tough.  She is soft and funny.  She is smart as heck and she is deeply passionate about women and their defense.  I don't actually want to share to much about the stories she shared because they are her stories to tell(most you know how I feel about each person telling their own story) and if you are fortunate enough to take a class from her, I don't want to rob you of any of the experience, but I will say, I see a lot of similarities between me and her.  I hate to speak for her, but I think she sees them too.  She has mentioned a few things I have written that she could relate to or felt as well.  She is a very connectable person, so everyone might have felt the same way. 

I will say I was a tiny bit annoyed by the time we went to lunch because during both the classroom portion and the range time several woman were chit chatting laughing and making comments as Kathy spoke.  Now, let me be clear, they were not doing anything wrong.  Not being disruptive or bothersome to anyone but me.  I realized I was annoyed and did some self analysis.  I can be very type A and very serious when it comes to learning, especially something like this.  My husband says I was born 30.  Even though I think I have a sense of humor and am crazy hysterical(if I do say so myself), I do lean to the serious side.  I have come a long way and can recognize the signs when I see them.  I decided at lunch that I was going to relax and that it was ok to have fun.

When we got back into the classroom for the holster discussion, I forced myself to lighten up.  I generally would never contribute to a lecture or offer my input on a subject I am not an expert in and I most certainly would not contradict a person in authority, so I was surprised when I did just that.  Kathy was sharing her knowledge and experience with holsters and she came upon a holster she does not like, at all.  She was very clear and I sat there listening, but it happens to be a style of holster I use daily and like and I thought just stay quiet it doesn't matter.  People have different opinions, it's fine, but then I thought, stop being such a puss, just say something.  And I did .  I raised my hand and expressed my opinion.  We had a nice little exchange and while I do not think either of us changed the other's mind, it was fine.  I have been practicing this idea of sharing my thoughts even when it differs from others.  Mostly on other gun sites and while I have no desire to become confrontational and I still believe often times it is better to just move on, I think one should not keep quiet out of fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of anything. I am not a fan of fear.

There is a ton more to tell, but again lets skip to day two.  First thing in the morning Kathy announced that we were going to switch partners and I was none to pleased.  Not so much because I didn't want to shoot with the other ladies, but the grown adult in me does not like being treated like a 5 year old.  I am a walking contradiction.  In many ways, I do exactly what I am told and at the same time, I really do not like being told what to do.  Not my class, so, of course, I didn't argue.  I am not in anyway willing to concede that Kathy was right:)  BUT, I was thrilled with the partner I got.  I am betting that no matter who I would have been paired with, I would be typing the same thing, but this woman, my partner, is something special.

I was first up to shoot and she was very keenly aware of every move I made.  After each shot(in the beginning), she offered helpful tips, ideas, suggestions and was very encouraging as well.  When it was her turn I offered a suggestion or two and she was receptive and incorporated them and we both benefited from our time together.

Day two was a lot more shooting and while I had done most of the drills, one thing I had never down was shoot from cover(can stop a bullet).  It was really concealment(can't stop a bullet), but we set the scene and the scene was that were behind a concrete structure of some kind.  It felt odd and I did have my first little flicker of butterflies as I held my hand against the "wall" and tilled my gun about 5 degrees. The whistle blew and I shot 6 consecutive shoots down range, dead center mass in a smaller than fist size group.  Nice!!

My partner is an excellent shot. Her groups are ALWAYS, nice and tiny and frankly it is annoying, so I was shocked when it was her turn, the whistle blew, she took one shot and the hole was at the bottom of the target.  She holstered her gun, called me over and said, I closed my eyes.  We both laughed and discussed how awkward the positioning was.  I think also it was uncomfortable since we were standing out the booth and could see the person next us.  I see the person next to me at the outdoor range, but there is something about being told repeatedly not to take your gun outside of the booth and then taking your gun outside of the booth that is creepy.  It felt that weird. 

Round two, she aimed, the whistle blew and 6 shots bam, bam, bam...perfectly placed.  She holstered, I walked up to her and whispered. You are a very good shot when you keep your eyes open. Again, we laughed.

Again lunch and again range time and then classroom discussion.  I had to leave early in order to catch my flight, but the portion I got to hear was very useful.  Day two's presentation was on legal issues and mindset.  I heard most of it before, but Kathy offers some unique insight.  It was the first time I shared any hint about what had happened to me. 

Kathy was talking about the 3 elements that must be present in order to have a good legal case.  Basically, was the person showing that he was intending to cause you grave harm, did the person have the ability to inflict such harm and would any reasonable person agree that this person was in fact going act.

Since my attack, I have always believed that if I was ever in that situation again, I would shoot the guy before he could grab me, but as Kathy was explaining all the different scenarios that would be acceptable, I panicked,  She gave examples of a guy with a gun or a knife or disparaging size.  She gave examples of a guy making threats and yelling and as she did, I got sicker and sicker to my stomach.

My bad guy didn't do any of that.  To my knowledge he did not have a weapon and he did not say anything threatening.  He kept saying over and over, I don't want to scare you.  I am not going to hurt you.  Although, those words terrified me, how could I prove to a court of law that when he used those words, his intent was to harm me.  I knew in ever fiber of my being that he was going to hurt me.  I knew the minute I saw him and yet, I had no proof. I thought, my God, I couldn't have stopped him.

I raised my hand and tried to speak, but I could not.  The words would not come out. I sat there trembling for a few minutes with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.  Ericka reached out and wrapped her arm around me and I heard a voice behind me say, your ok.,  I finally was able to compose myself and asked her, My bad guy wasn't any of those things.  There was no legal proof that he was going to hurt me until he did.  When could I have shot him?

I was not crying because I was traumatized by the memory or by telling the story or even by the what this guy did.  I was rendered speechless as I thought holy crap, I have been working off the premise that in the same situation, I could end things before he got his hands on me, before he knocked me to the ground, before... Now, I wasn't so sure and that scared me.

Kathy knelt down, grabbed my hands and said I could have shot him before he grabbed me.  She acted out what the right thing to do is...yell STOP and GET BACK(which I know) and then if he kept coming, that was the threat and I had enough cause to shoot.

I did tell him to stop, although not with enough force and he did, but then he would tell me he didn't want to scare me and he would take a few more steps towards me. 

Later that night on the plane, I played that conversation over in my mind and I remembered that John has told me the same thing.  If I told the guy to stop, he should have stopped and if he didn't his plan for me is not a good one and that was enough to use deadly force.  I can not explain why my mind went blank and why I had forgot that.  I think it was my mind preparing me for the next part of my healing.

I sat there with my eyes closed I replayed the entire attack in my mind over and over.  Piece by piece.  I could see every single detail in slow motion.  My mind had never let me accept that there was plenty of things I could have done to avoid the attack all together.

When I saw that man walking across the parking lot, I knew instantly he was a bad guy.  I have seen lots of men in a parking lot before and I have even been alone with them in elevators and have not been afraid.  When he first started towards me I remember, now, that there were other cars.  As I thought about that day, I could see clearly that they were pulling out of their spots.  3 of them.  When I first saw the bad guy, I was not more than 6 or 7 seven feet from the entrance to the store.  I kept walking to my car.  Farther and farther a way from safety.  I had eye contact with him the whole time and consciously, I thought, "I am in trouble"  I was making a plan for my daughter's safety.  I had accepted that something bad was going to happen. I have never admitted it was something I could have prevented.  The minute I saw him, the minute I felt uneasy, I should have turned around and gone into the store.  I should have gone back into the store. Done, finished, end of story. 

I didn't and if you have been reading this blog long then you know why and all the reason and all the gory details, that I won't go over again, but my work, my plan has always been dealing with the attack at the point where I tell him to stop and he doesn't stop.  I had not accepted responsibility for the fact that I could have stopped the attack before I ever would have needed to draw my gun.

Listen to me clearly...THIS WAS NOT MY FAULT.  I should be able to blindly walk to my car without a care in the world without fearing for my life.  NO ONE has the right to harm me ever, for any reason, regardless of my situational awareness. 

I am not blaming myself or feeling guilty, but since there are mean vicious assholes in the world, it is in my best interest to see my attack, every detail for the reality that it was, so I can do better in the future to keep myself and my children safe.

Bit by bit my mind lets me see more and more and brings people and events into my life so when I am ready I can handle the next part,  not only so I can a heal more fully, but so I can be more prepared and more capable.

It was a good weekend.

P.S. someone emailed me and asked me why I lowered myself to cussing.  I am not going to address the crass way in which someone chose to address me, but I will explain.  I am getting tired of saying "bad guy".  It implies that he was just not nice.  It comes across like he attempted to steal my parking spot instead of my money, my body, my spirit.  I have shared much of that day, but not every detail.  Not every word he uttered once he grabbed me, not the images my daughter saw, not every mark he left on me. This was not a nice guy.  He was more than a bad guy.  He was mean and cold and he hurt me, deeply.  He is a monster and I feel that vicious asshole is quite appropriate..

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Get Ready

i am sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane home and I am totally exhausted. I have so much to tell you much. I might be like a kid with a new toy at Christmas, unable to talk about anything else.

For now, let me say I had a life time of experiences this weekend and not all of them were on the range.

To be expected Kathy was calm, confident, smart, funny, a wealth of information and a darn good shot. Not that I am qualified to evaluate, but anytime someone shoots countless rounds while talking and teaching and seems to place each round in the same small hole...well, that is a good shot.

My letter about the gun community just keeps getting reaffirmed and reaffirmed. The women I met were incredible. Not the polite kind one is obligated to say after such events, but the kind that makes me wish I lived closer to these women. All were a blessing and were sweet as could be, but a few in particular made a permanent mark on my heart.

Ok, plane is getting ready to board. I missed you all. Can't wait to catch up on all your blogs tomorrow!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Adventure

Friday morning I am heading to Tennessee for a 2 day shooting course at Range Master taught by Kathy Jackson.

I am really excited about heading out on this trip.  I will be experiencing a whole bunch of firsts. It is the first time I will be flying with a firearm.  I have been reading and checking the rules on how to do this and Tom at Range Master did give me the sound advice of NOT walking up to the counter and saying "I have a gun."  Seems obvious, but I am little nervous, so I am glad he thought to mention it.

It is also the first time I will be training with anyone other than John.  It will be my first time training without my handy dandy back up man aka my husband.  It is the first time I have ever traveled by myself.  I know, crazy, but true.  I have flown by myself to meet friends, but I have never flown by myself to a new destination and done the whole deal on my own.

Surprisingly, except for the flying part, I am calm, not nervous at all and really looking forward to learning, improving and meeting some new people.  It's gonna be fun, fun, fun!

My husband has a friend who is a retired Marine and former sniper.  He is lending me some of his gear, which is crazy cool.  I am hoping some of his mad dog skills are captured in the fibers and will be released to me once I strap on his holster. I think proficiency has something to do with practice and technique, but a girl can dream.

I have been working on some exciting things for the past couple of months that I will be sharing with you when I get back.  Can't wait!

I am thinking I will not be blogging much for the next 3 or 4 days, but will probably have time to pop an update or two on my FB, if you are interested.   I hope you do pop on over and leave me a comment or two.  I have grown very fond of reading your blogs and seeing what is going on in your lives and hearing what you have to say about mine.  I will miss that.

Otherwise, I will chat with you when I get back.  Have a fabulous time!  Stay Safe!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Valentines Day!!

My day has been crazy busy doing the mom thing.  I love to celebrate holidays.  Actually, I love any reason to do something special for the people I love.  Not that I need one.  I have been known to throw pancake parties in the middle of the night with full on crystal goblets filled with orange juice and french toast served on my best China for no other reason than we couldn't sleep, but still I love the formality of a day that I get to spoil those that matter to me.  Point being, I have been busy trying to make this a special day for my kiddos to include time at their school and so I have not had much time to do anything else, BUT, I did make time to go to Starbucks.

I like for my 13 year to learn the lessons of life by example, so I kept her home this morning and she ran up to our local Starbucks to grab a cup of joe with me.

This, like most pictures of me is dorky, but hey, I didn't have time for a photo shoot.  Being subtle is very important to me, so I opened carried, wore my 2nd Amendment shirt and a necklace made from a bullet.

Once at the counter the manager came over and asked "what us fine ladies were up to".  I responded that we were here to support our local Starbucks.  She said, "I am good with that"  "Appreciate your business" and smiled.  Excellent!

As my daughter and I waited for our order I noticed an older gentleman checking out my backside.  I was flattered for a second, but then realized it was my Glock that caught his eye.  Here was our discussion...

Him-That is a pistol on your hip.

Me- Yes, it is.

Him- Scary.

Me- It's not scary.  I know how to use it, your safe.

Him- I bet.

He looked very uncomfortable and honestly like he was afraid.  A few minutes later he started to talk to me again.

Him- Can I ask you a question?

Me- Sure.

Him- I heard that these places are gonna allow beer and wine pretty soon, would you be allowed to bring that gun in here if they do?

Me- Yes, in Virginia I would be allowed to carry my gun into a place that serves alcohol, but that might not be the case in other states, depends on their laws.  Of course, it would be irresponsible for someone to be drunk and have a gun and I am not aware of any gun owners that would behave in such an irresponsible way.

He smiles, looks at my gun again, smiles at me, looks at my daughter, grabs his coffee and says thanks.

My son and his his wife went to a different Starbucks and that manager was not aware that anyone was boycotting or buycotting them. 

I went to 2 other locations and one also was not aware of any boycott/buycott and the other one was only aware of the buycott.  That manager had no clue that it was spurred by the anti gun people trying to strong arm them.  I am gonna call that a win for my town.

Go to Weer'd World to check out more on this subject.

A Friend Helping A Friend, Helping A Friend

In case the title wasn't clear, I need a little help from all of you.  Everyone's feisty and loveable Erin over at Lurking Rhythmically asked me if I knew of anyone who might be selling a 9mm Glock, either a 17, 19, or a 26.  She, like most of us is budget conscious and could use a deal. 

I didn't know of anyone off the top of my head, so I thought I would post here and see if we could help her out.  If not a specific person, maybe there is a reputable forum or firearms trading site that she could be pointed to.

I know she would be extremely grateful for any and all assistance!!  Thanks!!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Wil Call Her...

Ok, real quick. I loved all the names and I can not tell you how much I appreciated everyone giving me their thoughts and input. Really, it meant a lot to me.

I wanted a name that had meaning both historically to the gun and to me personally. Several suggestions fit one or the other, but only one fit both. I had two readers suggest the name I picked. One left a comment on the blog and one sent me an email. I will send them both a box of chocolate.

The name I chose is Anastasiya. I will use the traditional Russian spelling and it means "resurrection" It is defined as "the literal coming back to life".

I don't think I need to say anymore.

Chris in TX email me your address to

Still Smiling

As I said in yesterday's post, I went to a gun show on Saturday.   John, my man and I met up and began our pilgrimage.  We only made it about 3 tables in when I decided I would be making an impulse buy.  I have discovered that I love old guns.  I love their history, I love their feel and I love their look: the beat up, I have been used, I have a story to tell sheen. No surprise then that the Mosin Nagant would catch my eye.  Once John started to tell me about them, I was hooked.  John has a system where he likes to go up and down the aisles and take mental notes of the things that interest him and then return to the booth that had the best price.  My man and I have no system whatsoever.  We wonder aimlessly, eating beef jerky and hoping we don't get screwed.  John's plan seemed better, so we went along with it.  The problem being, I really could not focus.  I just kept thinking about that Mosin.  We had made good progress and learned a ton of useful info plus had purchased a flashlight, some beef jerky and ran into friends I had not seen in a while.  I was thoroughly enjoying myself, but getting quite antsy.  About half way through I exclaimed, "I want that gun".  My man said "Go for it" and John said, then "then lets do it."  We all high tailed it back to the booth which turned out to be perfect timing.  There were 3 in the box and within 2 seconds of us picking one up, the others had vanished.  I think it was a God thing.  Now, I really wanted to buy this gun for myself, but I had left my drivers license and Conceal Carry permit in my range bag back home(I was not carrying or driving, so no laws were broken), so that fine man of mine offered to fill out the paperwork and jump through the hoops to bring that beauty home.

The Mosin Nagant is a rather larger gun and I got a good deal of attention carrying it through the expo center.  Many a folks stopped us to chit about it or ask questions.  As we were leaving one guy said,

"That is a might large gun, for a little thing like you." 

I said, "No, worries, I can handle it."

His friend said, "I am not coming onto your property".

"You can come". "Just knock first." I told him

"I'll knock twice", he whispered. 

I walked on by with a big ol" smile and a bit of a spring in my step.

I spent much of that evening caressing her and squealing like, well, a girl.  I tried to get my husband to let me sleep with it, but he said, nope.  He had done enough of that in the Corps.  Truth be told, I think I could have convinced him, but, it's probably not a good habit to get into.

Since I am spoiled and blessed beyond belief, I did not have to wait long to shoot her.  Yesterday that man of mine and our son met John and a few of his friends at the range.  I have to mention here that this has been a very mild winter in Virginia.  No snow to speak of and pretty much the temps have been hanging out around 55-60 degrees.  However, on Sunday, we woke up to windy, bitterly cold temps of around 29   degrees.  At this point I would like to state all the training in real world conditions crap that Duke and Stephen were espousing last week...HIGHLY overrated. Don't do it.  Stick to paper targets at indoor ranges with heaters and RSO's that serve you steaming hot cups of coffee in between magazine changes.

I wore long john type pants under my famous black jeans, 2 pairs of socks, boots, a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a hoodie and my large winter coat, plus a scarf and gloves and I was still a Popsicle.  Mostly just my hands.  The gloves were not helpful, plus to shoot I took them off.  Cold is not my friend, but it did eventual warm up to temperatures that were bearable.

 You all know how I feel about gunnie's.  Smart, kind, generous, funny...  Well the people John brought to the range on Sunday were no exception.  I did ask if I could share pictures, but I forgot to ask if I could share names, so we will just call them Mr. & Mrs. Awesome.  There was one other gentleman there, but he did not stay long, so unfortunately, I didn't get to know him.  Mr. Awesome had a 1911 and an AR 15 chambered in. 6.8 or 6.5 (I think, I can't remember.  It was a new caliber for me and so much to learn) Mrs. Awesome had a 9mm S&W M&P and an AR 15 chambered in the more common .223.  Because they are awesome they let me shoot their guns. I think I was still getting ready to take the shot in these pictures, but...

My husband and son thought Mrs. Awesome's AR was the best set up they had ever shot.  I am still getting to know guns and don't have a feel for all the little intricacies, so I liked them both the same.  Mr. Awesome's was heavier, but it felt more comfortable in my hand.  I believe hers was shorter(I don't know if it was a carbine, but it was smaller in length than her husband's) and I am tall drink of water, so that might have been why.

And, of course, we all shot the Mosin Nagant.  I was a little nervous to shoot her.  Not butterflies in my stomach nervous, just a little curious as to how it would feel.  A young kid at the gun show told me he had shot about 15 rounds out of his and woke up to a black and blue shoulder and John said the Nagant kicks about 1/3 more than the Garand, so I wondered if I would be in pain. 

I did not think the kick was a big deal at all.  This is going to come as a huge shock to everyone.  You may want to sit down for this revelation, but I discovered while I love the look of this gun, shooting it was, well, FLIPPIN AMAZING!!!  I LOVED IT!!  Oh, my, oh my, oh my, it was pure bliss.  I shot about 20 rounds yesterday and enjoyed every single one.  I did wake up this morning with some slight soreness in my left shoulder,  It feels like when I up my weights on the fly machine at the gym.  I am not black and blue which kinds of bums me out.  I was hoping to show you all how tough I am.

Although my shoulder is fine, I did take several good hunks of flesh out of my thumb working the bolt action.  I am left handed, so my left hand sits on the butt stock(not sure what it is called) , so when I pull the bold back it very nicely slides right over my thumb, taking a piece of me with it.  I am gonna have to practice and find a new way to work the action.

Mr. & Mrs. Awesome.  This is my favorite picture.

A few last notes...if you don't understand the title of my last two posts, go here.  Also, I was informed that rifles are girls and they must be named.  I was not aware of this, but who am I to buck the system.  I am going to steal my friend Lynne's idea and ask for help from all of you.  Please give me your suggestion for what her name should be and if I decide to use the name you suggested, I will send you this as a little thank you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Operation Smile Lines

Yesterday I went to the gun show with John and my hubby.  We were on a mission for magazines for my 9mm M&P and other items I might need for an upcoming training.  Also, I had never been to a big gun show, so it was time I put a check in that box.  If you have been with me for any amount of time, then you know two things happen every time I attend a gun show.  I buy a ton of beef jerky and I have a habit of accidentally stealing things.  I have turned myself  well before the po po shows up and I always pay for said items in full.  Still, I have been trying to break this habit of mine.  I may well have succeeded, too.  Yesterday was the second gun show in a row that I did not steal a single thing.  Impressive I know.  That is the good news, but it gets better...I bought some stuff.

My Favorite Jerky
A New Shirt
A New Flashlight
Some Ammo For

1943 Mosin Nagant

*I did get to the range today and I did shoot this baby.  Met some amazing people.  I will tell you all about both tomorrow.

Friday, February 10, 2012

More on Training

I have been so excited to see so many posts on training.  You might have suspected that I am a big fan of it.

Yesterday I read a post by Duke over at Down Range Report.  There is so much good information contained in that one post,  I had to read it a couple of times to fully digest it.  In the comments Stephen from Standing Outside Looking In made reference to how vital training in a real world type environment is.  I agree, of course, but I mentioned that even without intense training people can sometimes beat the bad guy.  I did very little right and I am proof that sometime luck is on your side.

Their point is that, yes, one can beat the odds from time to time and for whatever reason make it out of a hairy situation, but the more training one has the more likely they will be in control of the situation and can rely on skill over luck. That could not be more true.

I only mentioned the fact that there are times when people who have no skill or relatively little experience with a gun, have been able to thwart an attack, because I wanted those just starting out on this journey to know mindset is an important part of training. Mindset has become an obsession of mine.  No matter where anyone is on this journey, I want them to know, without a doubt, they can survive.  Gun fight, knife fight, fist fight, zombie invasion, no matter what the odds, you will survive.  Incidentally, Nancy R has a brilliant post on being on this journey. 

For the record, I know Duke and Stephen both are aware of the importance of mindset.  In fact, I learned everything I know from people like them. 

This morning I read an post by JD that lays out all of these points pretty well.  Train, train, train and train some more because you never know what might happen, but regardless, you still might need a little luck.

My Man

I get a lot of emails asking about my husband.  Some are just curious about his time as a Marine or how we met. Some are more invasive.  A few boldly ask me if he went out to kill the bad guy or why he isn't more involved in my training.

I appreciate the emails and the questions and I realize I put myself out there and that is going to open me up to a lot of things, but what I write on this blog is not the complete picture of our lives.  My husband is a very private person.  He is a man of few words and has absolutely zero desire to be in the limelight.  Actually, until this blog, I was also very private and we are both surprised at how much I share here.  I have had more than one of my closest friends contact me and be actually concerned for my mental state because sharing so much is extremely uncharacteristic. My oldest son has said on more than one occasion, "Who are you?"  "Growing up you wouldn't even let me tell people we know, where we live."(I still don't do that)  I have personal FB page that has around 40 people.  For the longest time it had 20, but I have added some of my new shooting buddies to the group.  The point being, the people on there are my actual friends(a few are new friends) that I share my life with, but outside of that, few people know much about us.  You all know way more about me than people I interact with everyday.  If you have been with me from the beginning then you know the evolution and how I became to be more open and why I have chosen to share so much here, but what I share is about my journey, not his.

Having said that, I will tell you a little bit about him.  He is smokin hot.  He has calves to die for.  I have been married to him for 22 years and he makes my knees go weak every time he walks through the door.  It's a cliche, but it's true. 

He is brilliant. He really is.  He is loyal.  His friends, his children and his Marines will tell you that. He is cool, calm, and collected almost all the time.  He does have a temper, I have heard.  A Marine or two has been on the wrong end of that and needless to say, he rarely has repeat offenders. He is enormously kind and intensely protective. He has saved me a million times over.  He is strong and brave.  He has an inner calm that steadies me.  I never feel more safe or nurtured than when I am with him.  He is very in tune to me.  After our daughter made the revelation that more happened that day than I had originally shared, he said he knew.  He didn't know what had happened, but he knew there was more to the story. He never asked, not once.  He said it wasn't important for him to know anything until I was ready.  His said his job is to protect me, care for me, to help me find my way back and he didn't need any details to know how to that. 

We have never talked about it, but I assume after I was mugged, he had some anger and a desire to make that problem go away for me, but he never said so.  He never once lost his temper or exclaimed that he was off to find the guy and beat him to a pulp.  His focus was on me.  Revenge, there is no way that would have been healing for me. He has had the sole role of protector for 20 years and he relishes in it.  He loves to take care of me from doing everything he can to be sure no one causes me an ounce of pain(totally unrealistic which is why he helps me learn to do it for myself)  to bringing me coffee, every single morning. I imagine watching me go off on my own has been hard on him, but if it has, he has given no indication.  He has been my biggest supporter.  

He is the funniest person I know.  We have serious conversations, of course, but 99% of our time is spent laughing til we cry.  Honestly, I laugh that hard, everyday. I love my friends and I love doing things on my own, but if you asked me my favorite thing in the world to do, it would be hanging with him, regardless of what, I would rather be doing it with him.  Although, if I got to pick, we would be out shooting somewhere. Just for the record, he is a darn good shot.  I am not just braggin' here, the dude can shoot. It's annoying.

That is pretty much my man.