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A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Would You Mind Repeating That?

No, no, I don't mind at all...I HIT HIM. I HIT HIM. I HIT HIM!!!!!!

In fact I gave him a bloody nose and for a short time his hand didn't really work because of where I punched him.

The bloody nose was an accident, but the point is I punched him.  Not once or twice, but again and again.  I didn't need him to threaten me or even dig deep into my inner anger, I just did it.

I got to the park and Arete was there.  He said, lets go and I was like umm, what, ok.  He started throwing punches and I did the normal blocking deal and then when I saw a chance I hit him.  It wasn't pretty or super hard, but I hit him without provocation, other than then the fact that I was getting hit. After the first hit, I smiled and I thought, that was easy.  As the training progressed I got more comfortable and hit, punched, blocked, kneeded, you know all around kicked butt.

When he is ready to fight he puts his fist up which means I should do the same because he doesn't always wait for me to do so before he starts hitting me.  Towards the end he put his fists up, but not like he was really prepared, so I punched him in the chest and said, "You should have your hands up."  So, he smiled, put them up and then I punched him in the stomach and said, "A little slow."  He smiled again and then came at me. I did take a beating for that, but it was so worth it.

His punches were harder and faster.  I am not so fond of getting punched in the stomach, but I totally took it.  I end up on the ground a lot, but I am getting faster and avoid it more often and once I end up there, I am getting meaner. 

After my cocky smack talking deal, he grabbed me and picked me up to throw me on the ground.  Normally, I fight to get a way, but this time I grabbed him into me, pulled him down on top of me and pushed(I suspect he helped launch himself as to not completely crush me)him over my head.  Unfortunately, I pulled him right on top on my body and the weight of his body landed right between my breast as I hit the ground.  I heard some cracking and thought, Huh, that hurt.

I did have to take a tiny little second to lay there.  He asked if I could breath and I said yes and I only needed about 30 seconds before I was back up and ready to go.  Thinking it is gonna hurt tomorrow.

If I leave my one foot out in front of the other one, he steps on it.  Annoying,  so one time his foot was out in front of the his other foot and I stepped on it.  I think I ended up on the ground.  He said, "Hey, I haven't taught you everything I know."  I said, "Don't care, if I see it I am gonna try".  "I would rather get the crap kicked out me then be afraid".  I got a high five.

Did, I mention I HIT HIM?!

School Meeting

Last Thursday we had a meeting with the superintendent of our children's school district, but when we arrived, there had been some mix up on their end and we had to reschedule.  Today was that rescheduled meeting.

I want to say again that both my husband and I are very happy with this district.  We like the teachers and the education our kids receive.  We have always felt like a team with them and like the things we were concerned about did get addressed.

My husband and I got called back, but the superintendent was otherwise engaged and could not meet with us, so we met with the head of Public Relations and the head of Safety.

Very nice people.  The meeting began with the head of safety telling us not worry.  He told us that the school district has a plan and all is well.  I said "Great, what is that plan?"  He informed me that due to safety concerns I could not know the plan, but that there was indeed a plan.

I said , OK I understand that you do not want to divulge the ins and outs of your plan, but lets say there is an active shooter in the building of one of my kid's schools, what are they, the kids, to do?  He never really answered the question.  He said that he and the principal work very closely with the sheriffs department and that each situation is handled on a case by case basis.

I tell him my concerns.  I tell him that often times by the time the police show up the whole thing could be over or a lot destruction has already taken place.  He disagreed.   He told me statistically school violence in the form of bombs and shooters is low. I told him I understood that, but stats didn't mean much to me.  I told him my children are in these schools, so I would like to know what he and his staff are telling my children they should do if there turns out to be a real live shooter in their school.  What are the teachers telling the kids during these drills (He told us they conduct 2 lock down drills and 2 evacuation drills a year. )? 

Basically, I got more, we work on a case by case basis and very closely with the sheriff.  He felt the sheriff was very proactive in dealing with these issues, but I couldn't get him to answer what "proactive" means. Pretty much the kids are told in the event of an emergency they are to do what they are told by the teacher which is, to be quiet and not use cell phones.  We were told that the teachers know what to do and we should trust that.

I tell them that it is mine and my husband's responsibility to assure the safety of our children and when we decide to temporarily intrust their safety to someone else, it is still our responsibility to know if the person or people we are handing them over to, can in fact keep them safe or at least have a plan to do so and I would like to know what the teachers are told to do, generally speaking.

My husband adds, You say the teachers are trained.  How?  Do they know they have been trained?  Do they actually know what to do?  If we asked them would we get the same answer from each?

We were told that they have meetings on safety.  They are required by state law to conduct a safety audit and from that they can determine what needs to be changed or improved.  He said they have committee meetings and in those meetings they discuss how to handle a variety of issues and that there is a manual.  My husband asked if the manual is on a shelf somewhere in the teacher's room or is it a well worn out book that has been referenced again and again.  He asked them if we sat down with each of our children's teachers, would they know where the manual was and what was in it.

Both administers felt that the teachers would know what to do.  They explained that some of the teachers participate in drills on the weekends with the local police to run through different scenarios.  They actually conduct these at various schools.  I liked that.  All the schools except for the elementary school  have one armed police officers on campus.  I did not feel like we were getting the run around, but I also am not satisfied with the answers we got.  I do think they have a plan and I do think they take it seriously, but I never did an answer on what my specific children are being taught and what exactly they are to do in a bomb threat situation or an active shooter event or even if there is a fire. 

The safety person kept telling us that the principal and teachers know what to do, so I told him that I have been a substitute in this school district for 3 years and I have no idea what he wants me to do.  I told him I have a plan, but I am not sure my plan meshes with his.  I explained that I have never once been told what to do in any of those situations.  He did admit that is a weak area and they are planning on working to fix that.

I did not expect to get satisfactory answers and I did not think one meeting would be enough, but it is a start and I feel good that we called for the meeting.  I did ask how many other parents have called for a meeting on this subject and the answer was very few.  They did say they were open to ideas, suggestion, and ways to improve.  I gave them the article by Greg Ellifrtz.  I told them I did not expect them to incorporate anything, but that I thought it was a good article and wondered what he thought.  I mostly want to see if he reads it and if he will respond to me.  If he does that will give me some indication that he takes our concerns seriously and is at least willing to actively dialog with us and not just pat us on the head.

Not entirely sure where we are going to go from here.  I do know we will be asking each of our children's teachers what the plan is.  My husband suspects we will get 4 or 5 different answers.  I also plan to do a better job of debriefing my kids after each of the drills are preformed.  Asking them what happened leading up to the drill, what they were told to do, what they actually did.  With my older children, I will ask what the people around them were doing, specifically the teachers, but also the other children.  I am also going to reach out to other parents and get a feel for how they think the school district is doing and if any of them have ideas, concerns, suggestions. If any of them have thought about it at all.  So, step one complete.

More From The Good Colonel

I am going to have a lot to say about the things this man writes.  Fascinating book!

Yesterday's post touched a lot of people.  I was honored to read so many emails from people sharing their stories.  Thank you for those who reached out to me.  I was blessed and touched that you trusted me with intimate and personal parts of your life.

Lt. Col. Grossman says this...

"Very often what they(in this case military people he interviewed) shared with me was something that they had never shared with anyone before...I have been taught, and I hold it to be a fundamental truth, that when someone withholds something traumatic it can cause great damage..there is therapeutic value in the catharsis that comes with lancing those emotional boils." 

I have found that to be true in my own healing as well as in the healing of those who share their lives with me.

The Colonel talks a lot about conditioning and how things we learn in our childhood most definitely affect how we view violence and determine whether we fight, flight or submit. I find his view on submitting endlessly fascinating and I am going to talk about that later, but the flight or flight model, at least in his research, is flawed.  He argues that understand the culture(both personally as in our homes and in general, as in the greater society) in which we were raised aids greatly in understand and eventually overcoming our conditioning.

So, I am starting to do that.  I am starting to look deeper and see more and more how my conditioning led me to fully submit, but also how it is keeping me from moving forward in some of my training and my mindset.

As I have said before, I didn't know I had any issues with my childhood until last March.  I was happy, calm, confident, good to go.  I knew I didn't talk or cry, but I never saw it as a problem.  It was just how I dealt with tings that were hard and I viewed it as me being strong.  I could cry for others.  I cried on 9-11 and for weeks after.  I cried when our friends were killed.  I cried at the news or those stupid Kleenex commercials that come on at Christmas. 

Crying for myself is a much tougher thing to do.  I like to be in control.  I have seen out of control and it almost always ended with me covered in welts.  For me anger is bad and it is dangerous and I have never known how to handle it, so I learned not to be too anger or too sad and never out of control. It has worked very, very well for me.

I think a lot about training. A lot.  I am sure it is annoying as all get out to read week after week about how I am going to punch and how I want to punch and then I don't punch.  I promise you, it more annoying for me.

Sometimes I stand in the mirror and I practice punching.  I try to see what it looks like, what it will feel like. I try to imagine getting mad and angry and punching Arete.  I am alone, no one is watching me and even then, hitting into the air, I just stand there with my fists curled up, until I drop them to my side in frustration.

I don't know what will happen if I let go.  I don't know what will happen if I let myself feel and get angry about that day about any day.   I have started a few times to get mad, if you have been following me for a while then you have seen those posts.  I have come very close, but I always pull back. I don't even know if it right to get angry and then hit someone?  A bad guy, of course, but a trainer...can I do that? What if I do get anger and what if I fight someone who isn't a bad guy, what does that make me?  Oh my god, that's it, that is the problem.  I am afraid I will be like my parents. I am afraid of becoming violent. It's not about the good/guy bad guy thing, it's about being afraid that I will become them. Holy shit...I just this very second realized that.  Huh.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Conversation With M

M- Mom did you write a post?

Me- Yes, I did.  I talked about you.

M- Can I read it?

Me- It has some language.

She giggles.

M- Thought you didn't believe in coddling. 

Me- Funny.  There is a difference.  Not everything is appropriate for a child to read or hear.

M- I know.  Can I read it?

I let her read it. 

M- That is a really good post mom.

Me-  Do you have anything to say about what I wrote about you?

M- Like what?

Me- Like maybe you could give yourself a break.

M- No. How will I get into a good college or get a sports scholarship if I don't work hard and make sacrifices.

Me- You won't.  You do have to try and work hard and make sacrifices, I am just saying that maybe if you do all that and you fall short, it could just be something that stinks instead of an attack on your character.  You don't have to be perfect to BE perfect.

M- I know.  I am not a perfectionist, I just don't like to make any mistakes.

I giggle.

Me- Have you looked up the definition of perfectionist recently? 

M- So today at school Billy was flirting with  Suzy and Mary was upset because she likes Billy and I thought why do girls waste their time on boys at this age... She spend the next 20 minutes telling me about her day. 

It's Not Moral

I have recently had the revelation that I attach moral value to ideas or situations that do not require a moral judgement.

I have known for a long time that I was a rule follower and that I took that behavior to the most literal and extreme measure.  I didn't analyze why or question it, it just was who I was.  I didn't just follow the rules though, I believed that not following them was morally wrong and made a statement as to the kind of person I was.  I was completely perplexed by people who claimed to be moral, but broke rules or laws.  I had totally acquiesced my thinking to some made up set of standards that hang on the walls of every kindergarten room.  My parents, the schools, the government told me what to think and how to act and I never questioned it.  Not once did I say, is that true for me?  Do I believe that?  I did believe it, to my core, but it was not based on anything that came from me and it never occurred to me that I could reject their standards.

For me there is a long list of reasons why.  I was in an abusive home. A very abusive home.  My mother liked things a certain way.  An EXACT way.  She didn't just say the hair brush goes there.  It went in a specific direction at an exact angle and if I or my brother were off just millimeter the price to be paid was high.  Unfortunately, my mother was an alcoholic so often times she would forget the angle she told me. Our conversations might look like this...

Mom- Why the hell did you put the brush there?  How many god damn times have I told you that fucking brush doesn't go there?

Me- But yesterday you said...

Mom-Don't question me. Don't ever fucking question me.

Followed by some kind of beating probably with that same brush.

Guess who learned very early not to question even if I knew the person was wrong?  Guess who grew up hating cussing and violence?? Guess who craved peace and calm so much she just learned not to feel?

I didn't have the luxury of being a rebellions teen.  I didn't get to explore in college and figure out what was real and what wasn't.  I was grown up by the time I was 10.  I graduated high school a year early and went to college.  I needed out of my house and I was committed to never returning.  I was a college professor by the time I was 26. I was very focused and very serious.  I did exactly what I was told because the consequences were to great for me not to. 

For me morality was what I was told it was even though the people telling me clearly were not behaving in a moral fashion.

Much of the craziness that has shown up in these posts over the past year stem from me placing a moral value on my actions, actions that have no moral standard. I, for the first time, began to question what I thought I knew.  When I realized that I had no idea what I believed to be right and wrong, I made a conscious and concerted effort to figure it out.  I questioned everything and in that process I waivered.  I might stand up to say a rude anonymous poster and then take it back when someone said I wasn't being compassionate.  I realized right away that I wasn't sure if I should have stood up or not.  I wasn't looking for approval, I was honestly lost and anxious. The anxiety didn't come from someone disagree with me; it came from my own sense of not knowing what I believed to be the right thing in that situation. The lack of foundation caused me to question, but I didn't question my beliefs, I questioned my worth. I had placed a moral value on a non-moral situation.

In my awareness of my own tendencies, I have started to notice when other people attach moral arguments to their behaviors or that of others.  My teenager is famous for this.  She has what I would call a very high moral standard, the problem is, it is totally misguided.  She doesn't get disappointed that she got a 98 instead of 100, she decides she is a total failure at life because of it.  No matter how many times my husband and I tell her, she is doing fine and that it is her honest effort that matters, she never hears us.  She has so internalized her belief  that anything less than perfection is a moral failure that she can not conduct herself in any other manner, no matter how hard she tries. 

I have often heard people say, it doesn't matter what other people think.  You have to do what is best for you and not worry about others.  I have heard it and heard it and it's true, but I don't think that is the problem.  I don't think any of us care what others think.  The problem isn't that we care what they think, it is that we falsely believe we know what we think.

I don't care what others think of me. Approval from others is a vale covering my own uncertainty. It is the conditioning of my mind so deep that the set of values I instinctively react from are essentially not actually the ones I believe in and that contradiction is where the problem lies.

I had a conversation with a lovely, lovely woman on FB this morning.  She told me she respected how I can tactfully have conversations with people who disagree with me on gun issues and that she wished she had more of that.  I am not going to get into the specifics, but she felt like she should be more forthcoming with that fact that she carries a gun.  Her ultimate argument was, "I was raised to believe honestly is the best policy."   Her conflict isn't that she is looking for approval or trying to please others, it is that she believes she is conducting herself in a manner that is contrary to her beliefs about being honest. I would argue it is her beliefs about honesty that are the problem and not her behavior. She has attached a moral judgement to a non-moral behavior.

Her courage to decide for herself what is best for her and her family and sticking to that truth, that is the moral behavior not whether or not she is "honest" with her co-workers about something that is none of their business in the first place. I would say, morally speaking, her behavior is right on.

That is the moral standard to which we all should be true.

 **NOTE** Please know that I truly have no problems associated with my childhood.  I promise you I have long sense dealt with those issues way back in my late 20's.  The attack a year ago has brought to light things that I need to work out like not being able to fight and in my efforts to overcome years of conditioning I have been able to find and pin point things from my childhood that contributed to that mindset, but there is no pain in doing so.  Those wounds are healed.  I share as a way to help you understand my journey and how I got to a place of total compliance, but I assure those memories are not a source of pain for me, quite the opposite.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Work Post

On Saturday I got up at 4:30am like I always do when I work.  I hopped in the shower and when I got out my hubby was waiting there with a cup of coffee...heaven! 

John has another person who works for him, Ryan.  He has been working for John a while, so he knows the ins and outs of the operation very well.  Originally he was suppose to show me the ropes, but the first few weekends I worked he had conflicts, so I went it alone.  This weekend I finally got to meet him.  Lucky me.  He doesn't read my blog, so I can say whatever I want and get away with it, but truly he is a good guy.  Smart, funny, nice, confident...  We spent a lot of time together just talking because while John is teaching the classroom portion Ryan and I have nothing to do.  We talked family, guns, war movies, guns, actual war, self defense, military, John(but don't tell him), guns, and I think guns, oh and books.  He is the one who suggested I read On Killing by Lt. Col. Grossman.  If you have to spend 12 hours a day with people, it should be people like the guys I work with.  Had a blast!!

The day started out hot.  By 8am it was already 80 degrees.  Outside, all day with little to no shade in high heat and humidity made for a long day.  I love the heat and the temp didn't bother me, but I was pretty sweaty and sticky.  My pants felt 5 pounds heavier by the end of the day.  Our class was a mix of men and women and a variety of skill levels as usual.  I keep waiting for the complete jerk to take a class from us, but so far, we have only had the best folks.  This group was a little more sedate than the past groups, but still good people to hang with for 2 days.

We had a young girl, 18, that blew us a way.  I am not sure of her experience with guns prior to taking the course, but her accuracy was scary good.  Her dad took the class with her, which I loved, and he was bursting with pride.  She was quiet, but when the class was all done and people were standing around chit chatting she came up to talk to me.  She was talking very fast and she could not stop smiling.  She beamed!  Good stuff. 

Each student has a neat stories of their life and I like hearing what brought them to our course.  I truly enjoy that part of the job.  I enjoy every part of my job, but you know that.

One student usually stands out though.  For me it was a woman about my age, had no experience at all and I mean none, didn't really want to be there and was terrified. She was smart and had common sense, but it was hiding under all that fear.  She had about every "issue" a new shooter could have and no matter how many times she was reminded to say, not put both index fingers in the trigger guard she just couldn't get her brain to engage.

I love the brain and I love watching it work.  I could clearly see that she was so heavily concentrating on one aspect that she had nothing left to be able to address any other issue. I would say that she was the student that has present the greatest challenge in terms of getting her mind into the game.

Typically after students get the first few shots off they relax and steadily grow in both skill and confidence.  This was not the case with this lady.  She was never able to relax. By the end of day 1 we had made some progress with her, but she was still very shaky.  Before she left for the day, I gave her a little pep talk as did John.

One of the things that was most rewarding in dealing with her is that we had to think outside the box and find unique was to relate to her.  Trying to help her simply understand the skill we were trying to teach her and at the same time finding ways to get her mind to be able to hold on to the information long enough for her to perform it correctly and build those precious neural pathways. I was able to aide in this, almost instinctively.  That was pretty cool.

I worried a bit about her that night and hoped that she would return for day 2.  She did and while still nervous, she relaxed enough to be able to better focus.  She struggled to keep up with the class on day one, but day two she kept pace.  By the last drill she was on fire.  Cool, calm, collected.  She rocked it!  It was amazing to watch.  At the end of the day I saw her smile for the first time all weekend and she came to give me a huge hug. 

I would say it was easily the most exhausting, thrilling, rewarding time I have ever spent at work.  I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, May 28, 2012

With Gratitude and Humility

For my cousin Billy and all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country...THANK YOU!

Conditioned Fear

I received the sweetest email from a concerned reader. He thought it might be in my best interest to not write when I am struggling because it opens me up to negative comments and criticism. He didn't want me to be embarrassed. I always appreciate when someone genuinely has concern for me, but I am not embarrassed.

This blog is an accurate and honest journal of my healing process. That process is not always pretty and it would be a lie for me to pretend it was. I know there are so many strong folks out there, many of them women and many who have handled their situations better and I applaud them for that, but there are also many more who, like me, have found the healing to be a bit more work.

Colonel Grossman has this to say...

Conditioned fear can be extremely difficult to extinguish. It cannot be eliminated through passive deterioration or even active attempts to do so. Even if it seems that it has been extinguished, stress may cause it to reappear. What this means is that giving warriors the experience of losing in a simulation actually begins to condition a risk aversion pathway in the brain to which they may turn during similar experiences in the future—they may actually stop fighting and give up as they were programmed to do in training.Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Combat ...

Conditioned fear can be EXTREMELY difficult to extinguish...It cannot be eliminated...even active attempts to do so.

Not being able to overcome 30 years of fear conditioning is not a matter of lack of will power or drama. It takes times and a lot of work to change those neural pathways.

It is why I am relentless in my nagging of John and Arete to train. It's not just something that is fun, that I like to do, it is something I need to do. I need it. I need to actively change my neural pathways.

It is why I am very stubborn about not being coddled in training. Coddling actually achieves the opposite of the intended goal.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Contest Winners 2 & 3

Just got emails from Colleen and Mazie. Guess what??? They both are now armed women!!

Mazie bought the Ruger SP 101.  Part of her email to me...

I finally bought my gun, AGirl, the Ruger SP101 .327 Federal Magnum revolver. Now I have my Browning Buck Mark .22 semi-automatic handgun, and my Ruger SP101 .327 Fed Mag revolver. How wonderful is that!? I had to sell the Glock 9mm because it just didn't fit my hand well. It was too fat and blocky for me to hold well. I sure loved my Glock though! I do plan on buying another 9mm in the near future. I emailed the nice people who offered to donate ammo with the details and they're going to get the ammo out to me. What wonderful folks! I can't express enough how grateful I am for all.

Colleen purchased the new S&W Shield.  This is what she had to say...

My S&W M&P9 Shield came in yesterday!!!!!! I read articles, comments, forums, and saw videos with so many positive on this darn gun, I finally went for it. Yeah, I was a little nervous, but I loved the feel and shootability of the M&Pc, so I trusted my gut. It feels SO DARN AWESOME in my hands it's unbelievable. I really love how slim it is... I can reach everything so easily. Even with the shorter magazine, I can still get all fingers wrapped around the side of it. I love the feel of the trigger! I just cannot wait to shoot it!!!! I expected racking the slide on this new gun to be much more difficult, but I must've done it 30 times last night without much issue. Guns always felt "fat" in my hands, but I feel like it just fits like it was made for me. Ok, I'll take a chill pill and settle down... or at least try!

Is it just me or do these two sound really happy?

In Which I Say Enough

Hey, don't come here and be annoying and then email me and be more annoying. I am trying here to be super understanding, but I am pretty much at my limit and the new me is not so much gonna put up with it, so seriously, settle.

However, I did respect your wishes and remove your comments and my response to it.

Conversation With Arete

**Edited for brevity and some of it is personal and private, so I did not include that**

This is midway into the conversation...

A-I knew something was up. I just didn't say anything.

Me-That would have been a helpful tid bit of information to know.

A-And what would you have said, if I asked what was wrong?

Me-I would have said nothing was wrong.

A-Exactly and then what would have happened "Miss dig my heels in and won't budge an inch?"

Me-Not really enjoying the mental part of this training. Would rather just be able to fight.

A-Can't have one without the other.

Me-Yeah, I know. It's good that I figured it out for myself.

 A pause between texts

A-Did you call me an ass on your blog?



Memorial Day

Fun Times Ahead

Tomorrow and Sunday I work at FPF Training.  It is a Conceal Carry For Self Defensive class and you all know how much I love those.  I am giving you a 3 day warning, so you can prepare yourself for one of my long winded, OH MY GOSH, I LOVE MY LIFE, posts.

On June 2nd, I am heading to Nancy R.'s place for a Kid Shoot!  Never been to one, but I am betting that it will rock!

June 9th is the first National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day and I am about bursting out of my skin with excitement.  So honored to be a part of it!

One last thing, not even worth mentioning really, but it appears that standing by while I get myself worked up into a tizzy then waiting and watching to see if I either pull it together or completely self destruct is a plan of some people. I am not going to mention any names, but is starts with an A and ends with an ASS.  That  might not be the most common way of spelling it though.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

Breaking news here one can mess you up more than you can mess yourself up or maybe it's just me.

Occasionally in the past few months I have let other people get into my head and once that happens I am incapable of processing information. It becomes like a very intense ping pong game inside my head.

Ping:You are this or that.

Pong:No you are no this or that.

Ping:Yes you are this or that.

For a while now, I have been crystal clear on where I stand. My beliefs are not so much beliefs anymore as much as they are actually who I am. The thoughts are woven so tightly into the fibers of my mind that I don't think it's me, it is me. I have stopped thinking and instead just conducted myself from that place inside me that has become who I am. No second guessing. No analyzing. Just being.

The problem isn't that I don't know who I am or what I am capable of, the problem is when I start putting more stock into what someone else says is true of me rather than  holding fast to what I know is true of me. When I allow that to happen, I start to override my own beliefs in favor of theirs and a very ugly internal battle ensues.

No big deal. Lesson learned...again. I am back to my calm, cool, collected, very self-aware self. All is, once again, good to go in AGirlland.

Five Guns

Monty On Guns wrote a post called "Five Guns That Changed History".  He had read an article with the same title, but decided he did not agree with the findings, so he made his own list. Last night I was watching the Military Channel's Ultimate Weapons. They were listing their top gun choices for close quarter battles which reminded me of Monty's post, so  I posted that on my FB. Monty liked my status and commented, "Can't wait to see your list."

I don't really have a list for guns that changed history or that I would use if I were in a close quarter military type battle, but I do have my favs.  Here is goes...

5. M1 Garand- Love the history, love the look, love the feel.

4. Mosin-Nagant- Love the history, love the look, love the feel.

3. M1 Garand- Love the kick

2. Mosin-Nagant- Love the kick

1. Tie between the M1 Garand & Mosin-Nagant- They make me happy...REALLY, REALLY HAPPY!!!

Honorable mention-the M&P that sits on my hip-it's a fairly good equalizer.

An Update- "You Make It Sound So Easy"

Remember the woman who left a comment on my blog and said "you make it sound so easy"? Well, she did connect me right after that post and we have been chit chatting. She wanted me to tell you all that she is doing ok. At that time I encouraged her to think about finding someone she could talk to because as much as I wanted to help, I was not qualified to do so. She was already ready to take that step and she did find a support group at a local hospital. She says it has been a fabulous place for her and she finds hope and strength there.

I think that she is incredibly brave to have reached out and amazingly strong to face this ugliness head and to not take the easy way. To not just sit back and suffer, but to fight the fight and find her way back.

She is not ready to post here again. She said someday she hopes to share her story with all of you, but she just can't do that yet. She does read the blog though, so feel free to offer her words of support.

I will start. You know this already, but I am so, so, very proud of you!! Your determination to fight for your own life is an inspiration. I know it has been a much longer struggle for you, but you have not given up and for that you should be mighty proud. I am beyond thankful that you left a comment and I am so thankful that I get to be on this journey of healing with you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Never Ending Saga

One last thing on my training with Arete and my inability to hit him. Isn't going to be the last thing on training just hopefully on "not" hitting him.

Last night my husband and I had a lively discussion.  We were not fighting and it was not contentious or anything like that, but we were passionately discussing whatever.  At one point he said, hit me.  He was just being silly and trying to add levity to a heavy discussion.  Of course, I laughed and said I don't think so.  He laughed and said it again.  Hit me.  He said, you are all kinds of worked up, I bet you could hurt me. Working on my mindset has become a 24/7 kind of thing for the people in my life, apparently.

As an aside, "all kinds of worked up" for me means, I talk fast and kind of pace around.  No cussing, no throwing of objects, no desire to hurt anyone. 

He was 100% joking and I did not hit him.  This isn't about the fact that if one is upset they probably shouldn't go around hitting people.  Of course, not.  My husband isn't a bad guy and hitting him in anger(I was not angry, anyway) is not part of any kind of training.  He was joking. No one needs to leave a comment about how that should not be my goal.  If anonymous is reading this.  IT WAS A JOKE.

But, it got me thinking...maybe the reason I can't hit Arete is that he is not a bad guy.  Maybe I have been over thinking things(it has been suggested by a few that I do this)  On Friday when I did not hit him, I was frustrated and the main reason was because it surprised me that I couldn't, but really it wasn't that I couldn't, it was that I didn't.  There were 2 times that I came very close to hitting him.  He was annoying me and making me mad and when I was getting mad at him, I felt like hitting him.  So, good guy, don't want to hit you.  Acting like a jerk, kind of want to hit you.  I have never felt like wanting to hit someone before, but I did want to. That's progress.

If you ask me if I think I could tear a part a bad guy with my bare hands and do whatever it takes to stop his attack,  I will say, yes and I will mean it.  Just like with my gun, I play scenarios over and over in my mind of doing just that.  I try to be as graphic and brutal in my thoughts and my imagination as possible and I never cry or feel bad or think, "Oh, I will never be able to do that."  Just the opposite.  I think, "I can do that"  and I usually get very motivated and want to call up Arete and say, "Please, please, please meet me I am so ready to hit you".

Maybe the mental block is not in my lack of wolfness. Maybe it is in my inability to separate out that he is not a bad guy and then over thinking it and then turning it into meaning something it doesn't.

Maybe I am learning things and maybe my mind is changing and honestly, I do believe to my core that  if a bad guy came after me, I would be able to hit, punch, kick, gouge his eyes out and/or any other number of violent responses to the threat. 

Regardless, I am sick to death of this internal battle. I am done. I am so done.  I did actually for a split second think of driving to his work and saying, enough.  This has to end, now, but I thought better of it. Showing up at a place of business, storming in his office and punching him seems like a situation that would end poorly for me, so I will wait for a scheduled meeting, but  I am telling you, the next time I train, I AM going to hit him.  I think I will wait until he says to though(sorry 45er) cuz  he hits hard and I just don't think a surprise attack on a trained sniper is a good idea.  Maybe I will save that for the next session or perhaps the one after that...



A Little Of This And A Little of That

I DID IT.  I finished Above Reproach!!!  You people should get this book.  Not gonna tell you anything about it because that would ruin the fun for you, but I will say I loved it! 

There is a very nice lady who follows me on FB and is looking for quality firearms training. She lives Northeast of Dallas TX and is looking for something in the area.  I asked around and got a recommendation, but that facility is located Southwest of Dallas and she is not interested in dealing with the traffic.  Apparently it is not fun.  Any suggestions for her?

I really, really, really think if you are a new shooter(anyone actually) you should be reading what Bill has to say.

Someone asked me recently what my favorite thing about writing my blog is.  Can't answer that question because I get so much from it, but when I get emails from other women telling me that something I said motivated them in someway to make a positive change or two in their life, that means the world to me. Yesterday was a good day for that.  I got 4 such emails.  I have said it before and I will say it again, the person who makes the change or faces the fear or overcomes the obstacle, they get full credit.  Those changes say something about them, about who they are and it says nothing about me, but that I was a tiny part of their step forward(Obama has totally ruined that word for me.  I almost can't even use it anymore) is pretty cool.

My husband and I have an appointment with the superintendent and "other" staffers tomorrow to discuss the safety issues we are concerned about.   Last night I was thinking about it and I wondered how many other parents have requested a meeting.  Very interested to hear what they have to say.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Some People I Consider Friends

I know you all remember our very first contest winner, Mrs. Groundhog. I love this woman.  We have become friends and have developed what I consider to be a special relationship.  I like that I have been able to encourage her and that she has been such a support to me.  She understands the lingering effects of a bad guy encounter.  She has been instrumental in helping me to accept that this experience is going to be with me for life.  No matter how strong, healthy, and  happy I am, most likely, for the rest of my life something will spark that memory, probably when I least expect it. She never says those words, but as she shares her life with me, her own memories and her strength,  I learn and I grow.

Every time I do a Give-A-Way, I have a bit of a let down after the winner is picked.  I get so excited about the possibilities and I get so inspired by the many women who step up, reach out and take a chance.  I get tickled at the anticipation of another woman saying, "Nope, not me"  "Not gonna be a victim again or ever."  Then the winner is picked and I feel a sense of loss for those who didn't get picked by the random number selector. Everyone, every single lady has a story, a reason why she took the step forward and each one deserves to win and even though I know going in they all can't win, I am still bummed. Life is like that.  The good with the bad. I had no idea anything more would develop out of the contest, but something did.  A wonderful connection with a wonderful woman.

Life is also full of paradoxes.  I set out only to do something for someone else.  To give back to a community that gave so much to me and wouldn't you know it, I am reaping reward after reward.  I have been extremely fortunate that I have had a chance to get to know Mrs. Groundhog.  She rocks!

If you have not taken the time to get to know her please go visit her husband's blog and see for yourself.  Mrs. Groundhog completed the first of three shooting courses and her hubby wrote about it.  It's a great post.  I would encourage you all to leave her words of encouragement as she continues on this journey.

Tango Juliet and I, among other things, share a love and passion for training.  We both travel all over and are relentless in our pursuit of self defense.  He has also been a great source of inspiration to me.  He is farther along on his quest than me and has been more places plus he is a man, so he doesn't share the same mental blocks, but his enthusiasm and strength encourages me.

Strength not arrogance encourages me.  Arrogance intimidates me and demotivates me to the point of self destruction almost, but strength, that inspires me and moves me to the point that I believe in myself and then I actually do.  It is a trait that all the people I admire, most, have.

TJ recently wrote a fascinating post about a training he just attended.  I think CTone will especially find it interesting, but so will the rest of you.

After I read the post and watched the video over at Legion's Fate, I thought, well geez, if Arete beat the crap out me like that I would probably would be able to hit him.  Joking, joking.  Not serious Arete, not serious.

Go enjoy.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Training With Arete

On Friday afternoon I got to do a little one on one with the man I call Arete.  He is crazy busy, so I don't get as much time with him as I would like, but I am grateful for every minute I do.

Anyway, we met and did a quick review of what we had done previously.

He showed me a few new things about leg grabs and choke holds.  Different ways to get out of them.  I am used to the just go limp defense, but he should me several other things I could do to get out of a choke hold or at least get my chin between the bad guys arm and my throat, so I can keep breathing.  I don't want to explain what he shows me because I am afraid I wouldn't explain it correctly. I really don't want anyone to try something based on my weak explanation.  That would not be good, but trust me, what he is teaching me is pretty cool.

He likes to just come at me and do things to see how I will react.  This rarely ends well for me, but I am getting better.  In the beginning, I would stand there and freeze cuz, well, that's what I do when I am nervous.  I freeze.  I can't think or process information, but not on Friday.  On Friday, I fought back.

Fought back is probably not the right phrase.  I didn't fight, but I did defended myself.  I blocked punches and I moved.  I wrestled out of leg grabs and avoided getting taken to the ground a few times.  I still did not throw a single punch while we were "fighting".

He did try to get me to fight though.  He did his traditional "punch me" line. I stood there for a few minutes, but eventually did hit his chest.  He was not so much impressed, so he got the pad and I hit that a few times and did a few knee exercises.

At one point my back was to a baseball field and he asked me if anyone was on the field and I said yes.  He asked who.  I said 3 guys and he asked me what they were doing.  I said watching me and he said yep.  They were not even subtle about it.  They just stood there watching.  Not that I am surprised, it is not everyday that one goes to a park and watches a chic get the crap kicked out of her.  It was probably a sight.

The good thing was that even though I was listening to him and trying to block punches etc, I was still cognizant enough to remember to look around and see who else was at the park.  Later he was talking to me about a woman that was standing at her car.  I looked and then turned back around to listen to him.  After he talked for a bit he asked me if anyone was with her and I said yep a little boy.  He wanted to know what color the boys jacket was.  I thought I knew, but instead of saying I got nervous and said I didn't know to which he replied what he always replies..."Yes, you do."  Usually, he is wrong and I don't know, but I said red.  Bingo, the boy's jacket was red.  Apparently, it also had a white strip or something.  He is way more detail oriented than me, but I am making progress. 

At the end he was coming at me and punching and I was blocking and he said you can hit back.  I didn't say anything and so he said, "I know you hate it, but you have to learn to become the aggressor."  He does not mean this in the literal sense of me going out and attacking people.  He just means, I need to work on the mental block I have about hitting another person.

Just not there yet. He pointed out what has been pointed out a millions is a process.  Can't undo years of conditioning in a few months. I did think I would be able to hit him.  I went to the park fulling planning on punching him. I was surprised and a tiny bit frustrated that when it came time to do it, I couldn't, but I was pretty pleased with what I did do.

I know he is not coming at me with everything he has and that if he wanted to he could stop me in a second, but for what he is showing me, I am learning and I am able to apply it.

I am there first and foremost to learn how to defend myself, but I have a crazy good time doing it.  Even when I am frustrated or nervous or covered in bruises...I love it!

The Instructor Course

I passed. I have a lot to say about the NRA Instructor course, but I am going to need a little more sleep and some time to process everything.

Like always the people in the class made it a joy. I was In the class with 7  guys, one who was deaf, and they were all awesome.

The people at Innovative Defensive Solutions are doing great things and if your in the area you should consider taking a course from them.

I am extremely glad this weekend is over. I am mentally and physically exhausted.

Now off to go catch up on everything you all did while I was in class.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Super Fast

I spent all day in class for day 1 of my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course, so I am exhausted, but I wanted to let you know it is going well and to tell you on Friday I met with Arete for a couple of hours of training. 

I will give you the entire scoop on both, but I here is a hint of how it went Friday...

My left hand, but it could be my right cuz they both are bruised

This is the back of my leg right behind my knee cap.  All my veins are popping out and it was kind of swollen and squishy.

I have bruises all over and to be honest I can't figure out why.  I certainly felt the hits, kicks, blocks, but at no point was I in pain nor was there a point that I said, "that'll leave a mark."  These pics are right after I got home, but by this morning they were a pretty shade of black and blue. 

Hope everyone's Saturday was fabulous!!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Plan Of Action: My Kids & School

In light of recent events in my children's school district, I have decided to take a more active role in figuring out exactly what our administrations policies and plans are for such events as an active shooter or bomb in a school.  I have inquired before on the most basic level.  I wasn't sure I liked the answers I was given, but I didn't have a solution and I had nothing to offer, so instead of dealing with the school directly, I have worked with my children on what I want them to do in an emergency.

I feel like I am in perpetual catch up mode.  There is so much I don't know, so much I have to learn and trying to prioritize all of it to be sure that we are covering what is important and what is most likely to happen is a constant challenge.  While I have spent a good deal of time talking with my kids about safety in school, it has not be the main area of focus, but because crime in our town is rising rapidly and there is enough suspicious activity in the schools to cause me concern, dealing with it has moved up to the top of the list.

I am extremely reactionary.  If there is a situation good or bad, I react.  One of my favorite things about my husband and John is they calm me.  If I am excited, I am excited and I don't always stop to see if this things is really good or not.  An example would be when I was offered a chance to be interviewed for a company and I said yes without checking them out.  My husband did check them out and he called me to say,  "Babe, I don't think you want to do this interview."  They were sort of a guns with porn kind of business.  Nothing against guns and porn, but not how I want to represent myself.

If something bad happens, I want to skip all the logical steps and go right to fixing it.  IE, showing up in a pawn shop parking lot alone and buying a gun I knew nothing about from a man I knew nothing about.  We all know that worked out, but in hindsight, not a good choice.

Both my husband and John and to some extent Arete, help me to slow down and think, for myself.  Rarely do any of them tell me what to do(they are men, so occasionally that protective nature comes out and I am strongly encouraged one way or the other), but instead they help me focus. By helping me be more aware of my choices and helping me make a conscious decision instead of simply reacting to a circumstance.  That has been one of the most valuable lessons and fortunately, I am a quick learner.  Now almost(recently I dropped the ball on this again, but again it turned out and again I learned a lesson) 100% of the time I check things out first and I have learned to slow down and think things through without needing to run to my husband or John.  I still rely on them, of course, but it is becoming more of an exchange of thoughts and ideas instead of a "talk me off the ledge" kind of thing.

Yesterday I reverted back to reacting.  After the 5th or 6th bomb threat this year at an area school, my first reaction was I need to get my kids OUT of public school.  I called my husband and said, we need to talk about what to do with our kids. He agreed we should have the discussion again.  Revisiting issues as new information becomes available I do think is good, but I was not really meaning lets discuss it, what I really meant was lets get them out.

As with every single parent a lot goes into the choices my husband and I make about our children.  I have always wanted what is best for my kids and I have always actively thought about their lives and their safety, but clearly, I have made some serious mistakes in my choices.  Guilt will occasionally still sneak in and try to influence me.  I don't believe guilt should ever, ever be a motivating factor in any of my decisions. It offers nothing constructive. I was also feeling fear yesterday.  Not panic and it was not overwhelming, but I was anxious. I do think fear is helpful and can most certainly be a warning that there is danger, but for me, I don't want it to be a part how I make my choices.

I posted on my AGirl FB page about the latest bomb threat and had lots of good discussion.  One man pointed out that generally bomb threats are not carried out.  People who are intent on doing harm don't warn you(they do almost always tell someone, but its not a warning)  Anyway, that realization snapped out of my unproductive thinking.  I recognized that I was reacting instead of consciously choosing.  I got on the internet and did some research and I spent sometime in meditation.  Closed my eyes, didn't pray, but was just still.  Breathing, slowing down, thinking...consciously thinking. 

After a while I decided that I had once again skipped a lot of steps.  I went straight from things are manageable to crisis mode.  I decided it would  serve me and my children well if I took the time to find out if there was an even a problem with how the district is handling these bomb threats.  I know they didn't handle the notification correctly, but that is not a reason to pull my kids out of school. It is easy to assume, if they can't even handle the simple task, how can they handle the big ones, but again that is reacting and not factual. What I need is facts. I need to find out exactly what the plan is and how they are implementing those plans. I know we have had threats, so it will be fairly easy to find out how they handled them during and after. At the very least, how they respond to my inquiries will tell me a lot.

As I said before I am more than pleased with the teachers and administrators in this district.  My children have benefited greatly from the education they have received and my husband and I both feel like we are a team with them.  We are very, very involved parents, so I feel like I have a good grasp on who these people are.  I am well aware that the higher up I go the less cooperation can be expected(won't know til I try) and I do know that the more serious the issues, the less likely they are to move.  I am not expecting acceptable answers, but I am not going in guns ablazin' either, no pun intended.

For the next several days I will be doing more research and trying to educating myself.  My husband and I will have the meeting with the school officials, hear what they have to say and go from there. 

***One resource that I have returned to again and again as I have discussed options with our kids is an article by Greg Ellifritz.  I am not advising anyone to do anything. Obviously, I do not possess the knowledge or skills to offer advice, but it is a resource I have used and one that may or may not be helpful to others who might be on this journey with me.*** Edited...I forgot to mention that I first heard of Mr. Ellifritz when JD from Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns posted one of his articles.  It was there that I found the article on dealing with a rampage shooting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Worth Your Time

I find this discussion fascinating.  I was reading Weer'd's blog and clicked the link to A Day In The Life Of An Ambulance Driver's blog.  The discussion started here.

I have written half a dozen responses to the posts, but never posted them.  I can't seem to articulate what I am thinking and I probably couldn't add any substance to the discussion anyway.

Clearly the values and ideals being discussed have application to more than just to people who want to or threaten to end their life.

There Has Got To Be A Better Way

My 3 youngest children ride the bus to and from school.  They are special needs, so the bus only has 5 students on it and it comes straight to our house.  The bus normally arrives at our house at 3:30pm. If there is a problem like traffic the bus aide gives me a call to let me know that they are running late.  Yesterday at 3:40 I get an email that says

 As a result of an evacuation today at XXX Elementary School, some of the buses used for XXX Elementary Schools will have substantial delay due to the buses be held up at dismissal at XXX School.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school.

I am completely unaware that any school in our district was evacuated yesterday, so right away I am concerned. I try to call the school as my husband tries to check the local newspapers website and search the internet for any information.  We have had several of these evacuations over the past few months.  Some are planned drills to which we are informed ahead of time.  Others have been in response to a threat. In the previous events I have received an alert text message saying such and such is happening, stay away from the area, etc, etc. In addition the local newspaper will usually report it on their FB page, but yesterday neither of those things happened.

When I got the email I was concerned, but not overly so.  It could have been a planned drill and I just didn't get the paper, but the more I thought about it the more that didn't make sense.  Those drills happen during the school day and should in no way effect the bus schedule.  As time kept ticking and I was not able to find info or get through to the school, I started to get more agitated.  My anxiety was short lived, thankfully.  I was getting ready to have my husband go hunt down our children's bus, when it pulled up to our house.  Kids are safe. All is well.  

About 20 minutes after my children were home I received a recorded message from the county essentially saying the same thing as the email except this time they said the incident took place at the middle school.  It turns out it was a bomb threat at the middle school not the elementary school.

I want to say that in general I have a very high opinion of my children's school, their teachers and administrators.  Without exception I believe that they are good people who have shown me time and time again that they do care about my kids and their education.  They are not crazed "zero tolerance' advocates.  They appear to have common sense when dealing with a variety of issues that come up and they don't seem to be afraid to use that common sense instead of just blindly following some arbitrary policy put in place by the higher ups.  I trust them with my children.

I also want to say that I am under no delusion that the school could 100% guarantee my children's safety no matter what plan they have in place.  I get that life is a risk and even if one does everything right, someone could get hurt or die, that is not my problem, my problem is that there seem to be no plan. 

I called and spoke with the principal at our children's school and pretty much they were caught off guard.  They had a plan to deal with an actual threat, but they didn't have one if that threat lasted longer than a school day.  Once they(not sure who "they" is) realized there was an issue with the buses, they started to formulate their plan and it was not a good one. 

In a real crisis which they believed they were in, there is chaos and I would not expect the folks at the effected school to worrying about emailing parents or the bus schedule, but there had to be someone else in our district that could have said, Huh, maybe we should get some information out.  Maybe we should do it in a way that does not incite fear and panic.  Apparently there is no such person in our district.

The threat was over before school ended, so it is feasible that someone could have let the families know that 1. The situation had been resolved and no one was hurt. 2. That the buses would be late before they were actually late and 3. Define "substantial delay."

How about we think proactively.  How about we learn from all the other incidents around the country. How about something like this...

Earlier today at XXX school there was a bomb threat and the school was evacuated.  The situation has been resolved, everyone is safe.  However, due to the evacuation some of the buses are delayed.  Your child/children may arrive home 15-30 minutes later than usual.  If you have any questions please contact  XYZ. 

Now that wasn't so hard was it?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Will Be Otherwise Engaged

I now know why I had scattered thoughts yesterday morning.  It was my brain's way of getting me ready for the mind numbing, sick to my stomach headache it had planned for me later in the day.  Fortunately, I rarely get sick, but when I do have something out of whack, it's usually way out.  Anyhoo, nothing a good night's rest and several hundred milligrams of Motrin couldn't solve.  Much better this morning.

Remember how I said I didn't shower, but then I told you I lied, well, lying is kind of becoming a thing for me.

I decided not to start the 7 Days Of Conceal Carry this week.  I have been working on something, so that I can offer real solutions for some of you, but it didn't turn out how I had hoped.  I was just going to try to make it work, but then a friend offered to help, so it's coming, but not this week.

My man has been out of town and will be home in a few hours.  I have been preoccupied with his arrival, so again no real post.  My plan for the day is to shove put my kids on the bus, head out for a quick run, shower(even gonna shave), take care of 2 must do PTA errands and then do some research(except you know, we are married).

To keep yourselves occupied during this brief(or not so brief, if I'm lucky) absence go here and here. Then go here and here.  After you read up on guns and the antis go here for some rest and relaxation.  I always leave there feeling uplifted, peaceful and usually hungry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scattered Thoughts

I have sat down to write several different posts today, but my thoughts are all jumbled.  I can't seem to get out what I am thinking, so it's better that I just hold off until I can think clearly.  Thinking is something I can normally do, editing a post, not so much.  If I mix my muddled thinking with my poor editing, it could get mighty ugly.

Real quick I have some exciting news I will announce soon.  If you think back to every time I have said that you can probably figure out what it is. 

I am extremely annoyed at people who don't keep their word.  Character is rare and I am thankful to have so many people with it in my life...I am spoiled that way, which is probably why I am so bothered by the lack of it in people I let myself believe in. 

I wrote a post last week that included a link to one of my favorite blogs, but I took the post down because that post also included a link to an article I decided I did not want to support.  So, once again, if you are not reading My Muse shanked me, you are missing out.  His is the first blog I visit every single morning.  Broken Andy's In Search Of Tempestuous Sea is the second.  After that I go to my dashboard and the hit the blogs on my blog roll.  The rest of the day I pop in and out of The Gun Blog Black List.  It's a wonder I have time for anything else, but I am an excellent time manger and I have given up showering so that helps.

I am now off to work out, shower(I lied about that), do some dry fire practice, update the swim team computer with new software, input the 100 or so new members, prepare the financial report for the PTA meeting later today and hopefully knock out at least one more chapter in  Above Reproach.  I don't know if I am helping or hurting him that it is taking me so long to read his book, but I swear it is a great book that keeps my interest, but my life is busy.  Even though I want to sit down and read, today I also have to work on my lesson plans for my NRA Instructor Course presentations, go to the store, cook dinner, do homework with the little ones, pick my FOURTEEN year old up from school, take her to cheerleading try-outs, meet John for an exchange of goods, cook dinner, read with the little ones and put them to bed.  This does not count any last minute phone calls or texts messages from a child or friend who forgot this and needs that.  My life is crazy awesome and I truly am a good time manager, but everyday is packed  not leaving me much time for reading books, even the really good ones.

Last thing, the Cornered Cat Training is at 12 students and we do have a couple of men!!  I think we can accept a few more people, but if you are interested you might want to think about signing up soon.  Remember I DO NOT get a single thing from you signing up for the class. My only benefit is the joy of helping to bring a top notch trainer to our area. She is good people and I hope you take advantage of her coming to Virginia. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Word From M, My 13 Year Old

I do not write about anyone without their permission. I have asked everyone before I talk about them here if they are comfortable with me doing so. The last few posts where I mention my family, specifically M and my hubby, were approved by both of them ahead of time.

M was reading the post "You Make It Sound So Easy" and she decided she wanted me to clarify something from her.

She said...

"Mom, I want people to know that I was angry because I was scared and confused and I didn't understand what was happening, but I always loved you. I want them to know that even though sometimes I was grumpy, you were there for me. Every time I needed you, which was a lot, you were always there. Our family was hurting, but we were still close. Our family isn't like those so called friends who turned their backs on us, who walked out when we needed them, we were never gonna walk out on each other. I just want them to know that. Can you tell them?"

I assured her that you all know that, but she wanted you to hear it from her.

**edited**  She is gonna kill me, she is actually 14. Recent birthday and I guess I am not ready to let her grow up:)

The Weekend...Again

I am happy to see Monday come because the last 3 days have been a whirlwind.  All good stuff, but man was it packed. 

I will start with Saturday.  The last ACCT class we had at FPF Training got cut short due to rain, so John rescheduled the last 3 hours of that class for this weekend.  We met at the range at 9am.  In addition to 4 of the students from the original class we also had Mr. & Mrs. Awesome join us.  Always a treat, at least for me.  I did try to steal Mrs. Awesome's Lula, but the chic has a keen sense of observation and snagged it right back out of my bag. 

I don't know exactly what I am doing, but I am sure I am rocking it.  You can't tell, but there are actual targets up to the left.
Most of this portion of the class was up close and personal kind of bad guy, hands on you stuff. I don't know why, but punching someone is still an issue for me.  The drill was to strike the face of the bad guy, while withdrawing, draw and shoot.  These were paper targets, but I still had a hard time in my mind striking. I am constantly amazed by the mind and how I can be standing there knowing full well that the "bad" guy is paper, can't hurt me and that I know in real life I am going to beat the crap out of anyone trying to hurt me, and yet, some things still takes me right back to that day.  The main thing is that I can control it now or at least overcome it.  When it was my turn to do the drill, I used all my fear as energy and I was extremely forceful with my punch and I am not sure if it was loud to anyone else, but I think it was the loudest "GET BACK" I have ever screamed.  It was guttural. After that one drill I was fine.  I did lots more punching and grabbing of the bad guy without issue.

John had his mentor and friend out there with us and I really enjoyed finally meeting him.  He did some one on one drills with us after the formal part of the class was over.  He helped me fine tune my distance shooting and offered some advice on dealing with a bad guy encounter. He, like John, is very calming.  He talked about front sight and trigger manipulation.  John claims he has mentioned that before, but I don't recall ever hearing it:)  There is something missing in my application of sight alignment for distance shooting.  I swear I do the same exact stuff at 25 yards as I do at 15, but I can't seem to shoot where I want.  My shots are always low.  Mostly good groups, but low.

Sunday morning I headed up to the NRA range to take the shooting part of the NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Course.  Each person who wants to take the class has to qualify first by showing they understand gun handling, safety, the different types of trigger action, a revolver etc.  Funny story, when I was doing the revolver portion, the instructor kept saying put the revolver in your weak hand to load.  I had the first time and all 3 times after she told me. She was getting frustrated and then I finally understood the trouble.  She forgot I was left handed.  I had the gun in my right hand which she thought was my strong hand.  Us lefties will mess you up every time. 

Then I had to shoot a green dot at 8 feet, I think.  Then a bullseyes at 25 and 50 feet.  Done. Passed.  Next Saturday and Sunday are the classroom portion of the course.

If I pass the class, I will not be hanging out my shingle and opening up A Girl And Her Gun Shooting School.  I am getting the certification because if I am going to be working at a range, I think it is important for me to continue to hone skills, become more educated in the field and get proper qualifications.  I will be working with and under John and I will be attending several more trainings.  I hope to go to TDI soon.  I have lots and lots and lots left to learn and I know it.

After the test, I came home to my family who spent the day spoiling me. They bought me the Ranger Up Sheepdog shirt I have been wanting.  I don't think I am the Sheepdog, but it's cool and inspiring, so...

My daughter A's class made traditional coupon books for Mother's Day.  In addition to one free hug, I got this coupon...

Translated..."help clean gun"

E made me a book full of good stuff...

As a treat every few weeks I bring fast food to my kids at school and eat with them.  E got this in her kids meal.

E and me hanging. She loves to go on walks
Me shooting

She is a little off on some of these.  Chicken is not my favorite food, but we do eat a lot of it because it is healthy and versatile and Justin Bieber(JB) is not my favorite singer...he is hers.  The rest are spot on.  I do like green, I do love to run and shooting bad guy movies are my very fav!

The boys in my house are not so artistic, but they made me yummy food.  You will notice this is pretty much what they always make me because I love it so much and they love me.  The menu was grilled ribeyes(ribeye fat is actually my favorite food) asparagus, and shrimp with bok choy gratin, a martini and for dessert my daughter, M, made me chocolate covered strawberries.

 Shooting, friends, family, good food, and some tasty alcohol made for a delightful weekend! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5.11 Tactical Pants

They ain't for me. In many ways I love these pants.  They are very well made, nice thick material, but not heavy and, of course, the pockets.  Lots and lots of pockets, but the 5.11 pants I bought just don't work on my body.

When I bought the first pair of pants I tried on several sizes.  The first size I tried on fit at the waist, but were too short, so I tried on bigger sizes to see if those sizes allowed for more length, they didn't.  I thought no big deal.  I will look like a goob, but I needed something other than jeans and  I was willing to sacrifice a little aesthetics for function.

The pants seemed ok until I started wearing them in action. They ride up on me terribly and aside from the extreme discomfort of their 65% polyester/35% cotton seam riding up my backside and my crotch (my daughters favorite word beside groin), I am also not willing to give up that much aesthetics.

My husband was able to find me a pair of longs and again I was hopeful that this meant everything was a little more roomy, but they weren't.  Especially once I put all my gear on, things get very uncomfy. It's back to the drawing board and today at the range I will be wearing my world famous Johnny Cash black jeans with fake rhinestones on the pockets.  And I will be Looking good. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

You Make It Sound So Easy

I received this comment from someone who is hurting on my post "Don't Be An Idiot." I assume it is a woman and she said... 

"I read this and it made me cry. You make it sound so easy. I have followed you for a long time and I get inspired by your honesty about your struggles, but then I get sad because I can't seem to get passed the pain like you have."

My intention was never to make "it" sound anyway.  I have struggled a bit with how much to share here. As I have mentioned before when I first started writing this blog it was for me and my daughter and no one read it. I wrote what I felt without regard to anyone else, but as people started to read and as women started to come forward and tell me I was helping them, I did feel a responsibility to be strong.  I was in many ways strong, but even on days I wasn't, I tried to be.  I think there are several posts on here that show just how "not easy" it has been for me. Everything I have said was/is honest and true, but it isn't the entire picture of me or my life.  I didn't write every single time I had a hard day. It hasn't been easy.

Some struggles I didn't share because I wasn't ready.  I wrote several times about "his" breath on my neck, posted the post and then went back and removed it.  Reading it made me sick.  I wanted to be honest, but I couldn't be.  Those days were the days I wanted to scream and yell and I would write a crazy venting post and then I would stuff it.  I never fully lost it, but there have been glimpses. I felt ashamed that I had covered up so much of my attack, but I just couldn't have those words out there yet, so many times I took them back.  I was ashamed and embarrassed, but I didn't want to be.  I was internally and externally fighting myself.  I didn't want to be sad or hurt, but I was and as I tried to process that, sometimes I wasn't able to share it fully. Things came out ugly and disjointed or at least that is how it felt. I wanted people to see the reality of what I was going through, I just didn't always know how. I didn't want to paint a rosy picture, but I also wanted to do things that would help me move on positively. That in itself was a struggle.  It was not easy.

Some struggles I couldn't write about because they involved other people. When E was hurting and my 13 year old was angry and my marriage was aching, I couldn't write that.  I couldn't hurt them anymore than I already had.  That 2 month period of hell was excruciating. It was during this time I met Arete.  My mind, unconscious to me, saw him as a safe place. I didn't know him well.  He was nice, but I knew he didn't care about me; I couldn't hurt him physically, emotional or mentally, so my mind let me unload.  Unfortunately, this was not really constructive unloading.  I didn't talk about my attack or my fears or anything rational, I would just lose my mind and say incoherent crazy things. Fortunately, it was a pretty short breakdown. When I say breakdown, I mean when I was around him or would talk to him I was crazy, but when I wasn't I was fine.  It was a very strange time. It was the most miserable I had ever been, but I also had moments of great joy. It was the end of many things, but it was also start of me finding my place again. As insane as that period was, it was good. Letting myself hurt was a great catalyst(an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action).  It was what I needed and it was the beginning of a very healing time in my life. But, it was not easy.

I had been moving forward almost since the first day after the mugging with a few set backs here and there. I can honestly say everyday has been a step forward into a better, happier life. But, it was not easy.

I was determined.  From the minute "he" got off of me and I got into my car, I was determined. I was determined to not only learn how not to be a victim, but to be secure and happy again inside myself. The fear, the pain, the loss, the uncertainty, the set backs, didn't stop me.  I was resolute in my determination not to let him win.  I was determined to have a life of joy and of peace.  All my energy went into that and for the past 14 months, that has been my constant focus. But it was not easy. 

As I worked through the pain, as people supported me and offered me advice I was able to add tools to my healing kit.  Bit by bit, I decided I would not feel guilty anymore.  That I would not feel ashamed.  That even when I said or did something embarrassing I wasn't going to beat myself up. Writing was very cathartic for me, but I had to follow through.  I had to not only write I wasn't ashamed, I had to have the courage to say the things I had been hiding.  I know that words are helpful, but the action of doing, that is what heals.  Writing this blog may have helped a few folks, but my words only having meaning if they inspire action. The power is in the doing. But, it won't be easy.

I am not a counselor, I don't know how to help anyone beyond listening and sharing my story.  Maybe something I have done or haven't done will help, but I think the most helpful thing I can do is offer you encouragement. I think it is important to find something positive that you can do to help yourself and if the first thing doesn't work, keep looking. Maybe my story is discouraging to you, then please look somewhere else until you find someone doing something healthy for themselves that maybe you can relate to.  I did not seek counseling, but that was probably a mistake.  There is no shame in doing so.  Reach out and keep reaching out.  It most certainly, will not be easy, but easy or not, you have to fight for what you want, for what matters to you.

This journey has been painful and it has sucked in every possible way, and some of my days have been dark and filled with much sadness, but I have been able to find ways to turn all that nastiness into a whole heck of a lot of good.  I have said it before, but I will say it again, I am calmer, happier, and more fulfilled than I have ever, ever been.  I am so sorry if I ever made it sound easy. It hasn't been easy, but it has been worth the fight.


Last weekend at the training several of us were sitting around chitchating about random things.  Guns mostly.  One of the guys was saying that he likes to attend one training a year.  I jokingly said, me too.  Mr. Tea gave a chuckle and said, you have been shooting about a year and I think your on your 7th training. Slight exaggeration to make his point. I have not been to 7 formal courses, but I said, Yeah, I take training pretty serious.  His reply was, "I would say anyone who can turn a visit from the washing machine repairman into a exercise, takes training pretty serious". True, true. Then someone asked me how many rounds I think I shoot in a year.

I had no idea, so when I got home I decided to try to figure it out.  I go to my local range about twice a week.  I shoot at least 150 rounds each time.  There have been weeks that I have missed, but not many.  I have also attended 4 formal training courses where I shot between 400-600 rounds plus the many times I have met informally with John at his range or other ranges around Virgina.  In addition, I have hooked up with other bloggers many times for an hour or so of lead therapy, so I decided for easy math I would just use the average weekly range trip of 300.  300x4=1200.  1200x6(you know, half a year)=7200.  That is very simple math, but I have recalculated that a million times, because that seems like kind of a big number. 

It is getting warmer and I have been doing a lot of experimenting with my clothes and my new gun.  I know a little more then I did a year ago when I did 7 Days Of Conceal Carry which turned into a bit of a mess, so I am going to restart that next week.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it really is to conceal.  Warning...if you want to wear Daisey Duke shorts and a spaghetti strap shirt without a cover garment, get the Flashbang and call it good. 

In the spare 2 seconds I had yesterday(I volunteered at the kids school serving taco salad to the teachers, plus last minute errands for my daughter and then her Spring Chorus Concert...she won the solo and she ROCKED it!!) I popped over to Female and Armed, while I was there, I clicked on a link she had on her sidebar; Rounds and Roses.  The blog writer had an interesting post on getting women into shooting courses.

As you know I have been trained almost exclusively by men(The only exception is my course taught by the phenomenal Cornered Cat) and for me it worked. All the people that have come into my life have been the exact right people, but her points are well taken. I do think that many women are intimidated by men and shooting and as she points out, many women have had previous experiences that make learning from a man difficult.   I, of course, think that the entire world should learn from John, but that probably isn't to realistic, so if your a women looking for encouragement her post is worth reading. 

I am now off for a run and then there is a slight chance I will get to meet with Arete later today, but if not, I might just snuggle up on my couch and try to finish up J.D's Above Reproach. It is a good book and I hate putting it down, but I am so busy I have to sneak in a chapter here and a chapter there.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Glock Guy

When I very first started out on my journey, I didn't know anyone who knew about guns.  I knew a lot of military people, but they were not gun folks and I had no idea where to go to find information.  I needed a holster for my first Conceal Carry For Self Defense Class, so I think I ended up going to Gander Mountain, but there was nothing for a lefty.  I am pretty sure it was there that the salesman told me about an upcoming gun show.  He suggested I try looking there for a holster.  It was at that gun show I met My Glock Guy

I actually call him My Glock Guy.  That is how he is listed in my contacts. He was really the very first Gunnie I ever met and he was the very first one that gave me a glimpse into the character of the people that make up this community. He is exactly who I am talking about in my Open Letter.

He is one of those individuals that says what he means and means what he says. He told me I could count on him to help me and he has never let me down.  As he helped me learn about my Glock, we developed a friendship.  He and his lovely gal have come to our house for dinner.   We send texts of silliness. I email him when I have a Glock issue.  He calls me when it's midnight and he has had a bit too much jack and coke.  Those are fun!  For the most part our relationship has been light-hearted and carefree, but recently that changed.

About a month ago, he called me to tell me he had prostate cancer and it was bad. The cancer is pretty aggressive, so an aggressive form of action is required. In a few weeks he will be going into surgery and I am asking all of you to join me in sending him words of encouragement, good thoughts and if you are the praying kind, prayers, lots and lots of prayers.