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A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: July 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Diggs

I have had so many issues with Blogger and since I have zero computer skills, dealing with the issues has been a drain on my time and energy.  When Barron from The Minuteman generously offered to make me a new site at WordPress, I took him up on it.

It was actually a hard move to make. This morning when I got the email from Barron telling me the new blog was ready, I got a few little butterflies in my tummy. I grow emotionally attached to things and I am attached to this blog. I still miss the picture of my Glock, but the Blogger format isn't really serving me well anymore, so it's time to move on. The look, the blogroll, the creative use of the English language will pretty much be the same over there as it is here, but it might take some time to get everything ironed out. Barron is walking me through each step which has been easier than I thought it was going to be.

Ok, new blog is located at  The new RSS feed is at

Hope to see you all over there.

A Night Out With The Boys

Last night the guys from my husband's office were meeting for a little rendezvous at a local spot and they invited me along. My husband assured me there would be other people of the female persuasion in attendance, but as per the usual, that turned out not to be the case. In fact other than the waitress I was the only gal in the entire place most of the night.

I have met these men my husband works with, but other than a brief conversation at the gun show or the polite chit chat that is required at the company Christmas party, I haven't socialized with them. I am the closest with Arete, of course, but even he and I have not really spent much time together outside of training, so it was fun to hang with them.

Here was the group make hubby, me, Arete, and 2 other guys, let's call them Esquire and Tiger.  There are an eclectic group. One is a very casual shorts, muscle shirt, covered in tats dude, one is a t-shirt, shorts, tennis shoe guy and one is a youngster, under 25 that looks like he is right off the cover of Esquire, thus the name. He wore a bright yellow shirt and tie. I think he came straight from the office, but the point is, he was pretty spiffy looking. Then there was me and the hubs. All very different from each other, but even so, every single one of them is a gun person. Some shoot more than others, but  all Second Amendment people. I even noticed Esquire had a knife and I think a flashlight in his right front pocket. I thought, "Nice guys." "They like guns and knives, all have jobs, even though I am the only woman in attendance, how bad can this be?"

Hold that thought.

Everything was going along swimmingly until I inadvertently made a comment about Tiger and something like, Hey, roll tide boy. Tiger is from Alabama, so that seemed logical. Logical yes, smart, no. He is from Alabama, but and this a big but, he attended Auburn University. If you know anything at all about college football then you see my problem. That. Was. Not. A. Good. Thing. To. Say.

It was so bad that not a single person at the table had my back. Not Arete and not my husband. I had hung myself and I was going to have to untie the noose all by my lonesome. I apologized profusely, I begged, I cried, I pleaded, to no avail. I was desperate and in the fight of my life. I composed myself, did some tactical breathing. I remembered that I had trained for this very moment. The words of Sir Winston Churchill echoed in my mind...

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Eventually I did prevail and victory was indeed mine. Drinks were spilled, chairs were knocked over. It was a long battle. So long that it's little vague in my mind as to exactly how I accomplished victory, but I am pretty sure at some point I offered to purchase one of these.

Once back in the good graces of Tiger and the rest of the crew, things went fairly smooth the remainder of the evening. We talked about Tim Tebow, murder, politics, politicians, broke ribs, Belgium, guns, plumbers, gun laws, and I listened to the boys talk a lot of shop. All and all not a bad way to spend a Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Defensive Shooting

I like to think that I am fairly competent as a defensive shooter. At least I am when I am on a range tossing lead at a bad guy made of paper. Seriously, not once has that dude shot back at me or left that place in anything other than a black trash bag. I say that preety much prove I am one heck of a warrior.

Not convinced? Strange.

Ok, so perhaps that proves nothing. There probably isn't a real definitive way to prove such a thing unless one has been in an actual gun fight or had some more realistic scenario based training. Air soft or some other kind of force on force set up. As of yet I have not had the opportunity to do anything like that, so I have to work with what I can do, what I do have access to. For me right now that is paper targets. So, how can I make my limited training work for me?

One thing John constantly says in training is to visualiz being anywhere but the range. See yourself in the parking lot or the dark ally or anywhere but "here", here being the range in Culpeper. Over the past year I have tried to up that idea. I try to actually picture a place I am, what the bad guy looks like and what his body does after the first shot.

For example, if I am at the range I close my eyes for a minute and think if he aka bad guy is coming from behind me or from the side at full speed or perhaps he is casually walking by me and then quickly comes at me. Then I think of my response to that and I shoot. Most of the time with me eyes open. Just kidding. I always open my eyes, take a breath and make sure I am paying attention to where I am and what I am doing.

The thing about shooting a piece of paper is that there is no reaction from it. If I do the classic two to the heart, one to the head thing it's always a hit. However in real life when I shoot the guy in the chest 2 times his head might flop forward or to the side and it just might not be conveniently stable in one place as I try to blow through his ocular window. When I shoot the target at the range I try in that split second or ideally much less between shots to see in my mind how the body could react to the hit and how I can best respond.

If I see his head flop to the left side, my shot goes to the left side and lower because that is where his head actual is, at least in my mind. Of course, that means the shot will hit the dreaded white part of the target and everyone at the range thinks you suck, but it has been a useful way for me to build skills or so I think. I am 100% perfect in my mind.

The Handyman

Our roof suffered some damage in the storm that blew through Virginia last week. Our neighbor, who notices everything about two seconds after anything happens, knocked on our door the second after the last rain drop fell and told us our roof was mangled. He gave us the name of a guy he used to fix his roof. Our neighbor is an older gentleman with quiet the attention to detail. He had The Handyman's business card with a hand written note stuck on top letting us know who gave us the business card and both were sealed in a small snack size baggie to protect them from weather. He is a very nice man and he is a hoot.

His referral turned out to be a very good one for us.

First, The Handyman came the very next morning after my husband called him, he and his crew, which is really just one retired Navy Corspman, were clean even for guys that work outside in 100 degree heat. They were polite, worked quickly and did an excellent job. Of course, we were quoted $50 and we ended up paying $350, but the damage was more significant than it first appeared.

My husband was so impressed he decided to ask the man if he would be interested in doing some other minor work for us. He said absolutely. The crew had a full day of work scheduled and didn't have time to go over the details, so he said he would call to set up a time to chat.

He called, he came, we chatted.

When all the business matters were hammered out we began talking about the weather, kids, life and the like. Somehow we got onto the subject of guns. I am pretty sure I started the conversation, but I can't remember excatly how. About an hour later he said, I would really love to go shooting with you. You know how I love to accommadate others, so I said, lets do it. Then he asked if we like the lake. As lucky would have it, we do have a fondness for the lake. Let's go he said.

Got my roof fixed for a fair price in a timely manner, made a very good deal to get the rest of my house sprouced up, had a fun conversation about guns and politics and made two play dates.

I don't know why people complain when they have to call a handyman.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

My daughter is trying out for the high school volleyball team and this week is conditioning.

A couple of the girls, of all races, were standing around talking what the girls called ghetto.

The coach, "I don't care how you talk at home or school, here we talk like the intelligent young ladies we are."

I love a coach who expects more from his players than simply the ability to spike a ball.

A Friend In Need, A Knife and Another Winner

Erin over at Lurking Rhythmically is looking to help a friend in need. Please head to her place to see if you can help or if you know of someone who could.  Thanks!

Also, last week I saw that I was getting several hits from the same place and it was a place I did not recognize, so naturally I popped on over.  There was a post about knife fighting.  Very informative. If that sort of thing interests you, you might want to head there as well.  He has a great blog over all actually.

Lastly, I thought I had posted this but for some reason it didn't show up.  Our other Give-A-Way winner also sent me her story to share.  I love this because she is young and is smart enough to step up and take responsibility for her own life and learning.  How cool is that?!

Meet Michelle...

I do not have a very big background with guns, but I would say that I know more about them then most girls my age (I am 23). My significant other has had many guns and collects them mainly as a hobby but also for self defense. I would like to know (and remember) how to use guns. We have them in our house, but unless he switches off the safety and has them ready for me, then I'm pretty much useless with them. And this of course isn't a good thing.

I would like to be more prepared and become more knowledgeable with guns.

I do go to the shooting range quite often. We used to go more but the cost of ammunition has definitely limited our ability to go as often.

I would like to take some sort of beginners or intermediate class and also earn my CCW with what I won. This is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time, but it was hard to justify the cost in my head.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog Issues

I am having them.  Hopefully all will be better in the morning.


I can't remember if I have told you all this already or not. If I have just grit your teeth and bare with me. 

I am not a fickle person.  I am very committed and I see thing through. I think I have said this before, the one about the treadmill, I bought one and ran it into the ground and then bought another and did the same, Yes? No?  Ok, doesn't matter.  The point is I might say I am thinking about this or that and not do them, but once I decide I am doing something, I do it.

However lately, I have not been able to get to all of the things I am "committed" to doing. I have these brilliant, I say brilliant photo ideas for conceal carry, but I can not find the time to get with my friend to finish that project. I have been planing on pillaging my neighbors trash in a kind of adventure-learning-to-survive-on-my-own-homage thing to kymber's husband, but that hasn't happened. I have a few new ideas for the blog that I think are original, about guns, and might be helpful to someone, but no way can I carve out a millisecond to plan it out let alone set the wheels in motion. Not doing to well on the follow through.

I just finished reading Surviving a School Shooting:A Plan Of Attack For Parents,Teachers and Students. Before that I was reading The Admirals and a book Called Fearless, neither of which I have finished, so what on earth possessed me to buy another, I will never know, but I did.

Based on the recommendation left in the comment section of my blog by Phil Wong I purchased Emergency by Neil Strauss. My kids are preoccupied, so I dove right in.

Right from the beginning I knew this was a book for me. From the prologue...

The author of the book is with his friend, Mad Dog.

Fuck, I am suppose to kill a goat today. And I couldn't even kill a fly in my room last night. Really. Sadly, I just put a drinking glass over it, covered the opening with a saucer and then set it free outside. I am a victim of my own empathy.

From chapter one...

Preparing myself for hard times has been incredibly challenging, because some people were born tough. I wasn't. My parents live on the forty-second floor of a seventy-two-story building in Chicago.  they didn't camp, hunt, farm, cook, or even fix things themselves.

As for learning skills after leaving home...nothing about growing food or building fires or defending yourself.  In fact, I had never even been in a fight in my life though I had been mugged twice.

From chapter two...

The author is trying to find a group of people who think the world is going to end. Not just average folks, but extremist.  He calls them "death cults."  He finds a group he would like to spend New Year's Eve 1999(you know the whole Y2K year 2000 thing) with, House Of Yahweh.  He calls them up.

The public relations leader says, "It's going to happen soon, and it's going to be over the seven-year-agreement that took place on the White House lawn between Rabin and Arafat." He went on. "In the news, Russia..."

He paused for effect and then concluded: "There isn't going to be any warning."

"That makes sense." I replied. Those words actually came out of my mouth. I am a very empathic person. I tend to see a person's point of view easily, even if that person is criminally insane. 

Yeah, this book is for me.

It Was Hot

This weekend out on the range was a scorcher.  Saturday was near 102 with a heat index of 109 I think.  This made the day go much slower than normal as frequent breaks were mandatory.  FPF has awnings with a not so fancy misting system.  What the system lacks in high tech-ness, it makes up for in function.  The water felt good.  I am kind of a heat seeker and loved the temps, but for most people it was not a pleasant experience.  My only real issue was that I am also a sweat-er, so my pants were not all that comfortable to wear.  The fabric kept me from having all those nasty sweat marks though and since I put up targets and people see my backside often, I was especially thankful for that.

John was concerned for the student being out in the heat for 2 days, so the class showed up to the range on Sunday earlier. That way the training would be completed before the full heat of the day was upon us.  Sunday was also slightly cooler. All worked out well.

This class was full of men.  No ladies this time.  Interesting to note that regardless of if the class is all women, all men or a combo, the ratio of skilled to not quiet as skilled remains the same. 

As with every other group of folks that has come through the people were great.  A little more laid back than other classes, but fabulous nonetheless.  The men do not seem to have any issue at all taking correction or suggestions from me. I have been somewhat conditioned by things I have read to think that the guys will have an problem with me, but not one has.  No matter what I say, they listen, thank me, and then do it and fortunately 100% of the time it has improved their accuracy.  People are looking to shoot better and I have found that most don't care who is telling them, if it works, they are happy.

Charles the guest instructor was there again teaching his loading/reloading/malfunction drill segment.  Such a nice guy. I ran a drill on the line which was pretty cool.  I was taken by surprise as I was not aware that I was going to run the drill, so for a minute I had a deer in the headlights look on my face, but jumped in soon after. 

All and all a rather uneventful weekend, but still a great time.  Loved being there with the gentlemen, did a little shooting, and got see all the happy faces as they drove off on Sunday.  Another win.

A New Career

For many years I taught college.  I taught in the Deaf Studies program at 2 colleges in California. I did some consulting for a University there as well. I designed an entire curriculum for one college and was a Department Chair for a short time before I resigned to do the mommy gig. I taught Deaf Culture, Linguistics of American Sign Language, Dactylology, Interpreter courses and all levels of American Sign language.  I loved teaching.

It seemed like a perfect fit for me to match my love of teaching with my love of guns as well as my personal experience with a bad guy, but it appears I misinterpreted how that was going to work.  I could  teach the NRA classes, but I don't think that is what I want to do, so I have decide to go back to school and become a paramedic.

For months now I have been talking to my husband about taking some EMT courses and maybe volunteer at the local fire department, but our fire department is pretty messed up, so that was ruled out   We have a really good program here that is condensed for certification, but as we did research into different programs, I thought why not just get a degree and take a longer program.

When I started down the path of gun ownership it never occurred to me to teach or have any career at all, but as things have developed I think I would like to have a skill related to my interest.  Now, I know being a paramedic isn't really a gun career, but it's a skill that I think will be helpful to my family, my community and those I spend time around.  I have always been interested in medicine and one can never have too many skills.  I do not know how it will all work out or even if it will, but I am just going to jump in and give it a shot.  Wish me luck.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Call for a little summer school work around the table

and fresh biscuits.

E got a little distracted...

I like the way she thinks though.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Marine Corps Museum

Today I met my husband at the range to try out his new pistol and mine now that the slide lock has been removed.  Good times. Removing that tiny little piece made a huge difference in my shooting. I was able to grip the gun like I needed, like I had been used to before switching to the M&P.

Then we headed off to the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico. My family has gone several times, but I never was able to make any of those trips. I should have prioritized my time.  What an amazing place.

When I walked in the very first thing I saw on the wall was this...

I love helicopters. I always have. My dad loved airplanes and he took me and my brother to airports and airshows every chance he got. He loved the jets. I can not count the number of times I have seen the Blue Angles, good memories. Jets are awesome, but for me there is something about a helicopter. I can't get enough of that sound. I like them all, but my very favorite is the UH 1 Huey.

This is the UH 1E. There is a plaque describing the heroic efforts of Captain Stephen W. Pless and his 3 man crew.  They rescued the crew of a downed U.S. Army Chinook in Vietnam.

This exhibit highlights the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.  We walked into a room where it was mighty cold.  We heard the sound of gun fire all around us as the sky lit up. These two are having a conversation. The Marine on the radio is calling in support and while the other Marine is trying to take care of the his wounds.  The guy on the radio says, "Hey, how bad is it?"  The other Marine says. "Ah, nothing more than a bee sting."

My new favorite rifle. Number 10, the one in the middle.

My favorite exhibit was the one depicting The Battle of Belleau Wood.  The first part has a large map, but the map is digital.  I can't quite describe the animation, but it was impressive how they were able to show the battle and how the advancing Marines didn't fair so well in that part of the battle.  The next part has a large movie screen.  I stood there watching the battle when all of a sudden I heard some kind of explosion and then a blast of air came over my body. It's to simulate the feeling of the blow back. 

I was absolutely fascinated by this display.

And of course, I have a thing for snipers.

I highly recommend a trip to see what the Marines have been up to for the past 237 years and if you give me a call.  I would gladly accompany you.

A Day On The Range

A while ago I wrote a post about my struggle to find "tactical" pants that were comfortable and functional.  It was loads of fun. After several weeks I finally did find a few pairs that work. More on that later, but for now, if you see this person as you are wondering around Culpeper Virginia...

My relaxed lets chat look

My hey lets head to the firing line look
it means that you have stumbled upon FPF Training and I am on the job, but if Skidmark asks, I was wearing a hat.

On the range this is what I actually would wear. Little to no make up, lots of sunscreen, my flash light, a utility knife(not shown. The hubs has it), boots, eyes(brand new eyes my hubby bought me), ears and of course, my gun.  If you look closely you can see the M&P tucked behind my left hip.

I am off for an extremely busy day.

P.S. I miss Broken Andy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Give-A-Way Winner-Karen's Story

I think most people are aware that when I do a Give-A-Way I require nothing in return.  Nothing.  No one has to like my FB page or donate to my favorite cause or tell me they think I am wonderful.  They do not have to share their name or their story.  They are free to take the money and run, literally.  When people approach me and ask if they can contribute to a Give-A-Way I am doing or ask to fund one, the only parameter I place on them, is that this is a true gift. They can not ask anything from the winner/s.  As you know each person who has contributed a gift or money has come to me out of the goodness of their hearts and want nothing more than to remain in the background asking nothing in return.  They rock like that.

My goal has always been to give something back to a community(yes, I said community) that gave so much to me.  Similar to the military people in my life, that will be a life long venture.  I also do the Give-A-Ways because I want to do whatever I can, no matter how small, to contribute positively in the life of another.  If all goes well, part of that contribution will be that they are safer and more prepared.  That is the reward for me.  I know that is sappy and kitchy, but it's true.  The level to how to true it is can not be expressed by me.  Every single time I do a Give-A-Way, I am astounded by the stories of the folks who win.  I am humbled continually that god(not capitalized on purpose) and the universe allow me to share in the lives of these women.

One of our latest winners, Karen, was gracious enough to share part of her story...I edited it a little for privacy.

My History with Guns

I grew up in the sticks so, I am not brand new to a shotgun. Growing up I was taught to, very simply, respect guns. My father taught both my brother and myself to respect the weapon and to be safe. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, correct stance, correct grip, ear/eye protection, etc. I remember when I was very young, I would watch as my father would reload shotguns shells in the basement. At that time, guns were fun - it was something I did with my Dad and I loved that.

My junior year of high school, guns changed for me. My Aunt was in the middle of a divorce and it was actually a very positive move on her part - it should have been done years earlier. The two of them were supposed to sign divorce papers on Tuesday, April 11. However, on Sunday, April 9 - he came to her house, while her roommate had gone to the store. As for how he got there, we all have our suspicions - but no one actually knows for sure, because he did not drive there himself. To make a long, terrible story slightly shorter - I will skip to the end. He (my Uncle - I cringe calling him that) shot my Aunt in the temple at point blank range and killed her. She never had a chance. He also shot her roommate three times upon her return from the store. After a stand-off with police at a friend's house (the friend was not involved in the shooting) he also killed himself. I did not a touch a gun after that for six years.

Overcoming that situation took a long time. It has been a long, hard road for everyone in my family and the community (my Aunt was well loved by many, many people). Two and a half years ago, I met my current boyfriend - K. He is amazing and has always been very supportive and patient with me when it comes to firearms. He and his family really enjoy handguns and love going to the range together. The first time he showed me his Mom's handgun, I just looked at it. The next time the topic came up and he pulled it out of her case, I actually held it - but afterward, I cried. Eventually, I became more comfortable being around the guns and holding the guns. K will tell you - he never thought I would be where I am now. I completed my conceal carry class and have my permit (I will be picking it up tomorrow! Yay!), I own a gun, I shoot as often as I can and am in the process of building a range (slowly, but surely) on the family farm.

I know you were probably were not asking for all of this and if I over shared - I am sorry! I am proud of the progress I have made and proud of the person I have become. I left so much out of the story, simply because it is a lot to tell. I used to have a hard time sharing all of that, but I figured, people (women, especially) could learn from her story.

I shot several hand guns before I chose my S&W M&P. K and I went to the range and I rented gun after gun. The very first time I shot the M&P, I put all 12 rounds in the center red section of the target. K was impressed and I was infatuated with the gun! I bought my own only a few weeks later.

Thanks so much! Also, if you have any words of wisdom - I am always eager to learn! 

I giggled when she said she was sorry if she over shared.  I wrote back and said "Have you read my blog?" "I am the queen of rambling and sharing."

I also told her she had ever right to proud of how far she has come.  I think she is quite remarkable.

Knife Training

On Tuesday I met Arete in the park for the first training of any kind that I have had in over a month.  Felt so good to be active.  When I say active I mean not sitting at home on my butt.  There was no impact anything, no hitting(really), no grabbing or wrestling around(my personal favorite).  My ribs let me know they were there, but I was not in pain.

I would say Tuesday was a tiny little set back mentally speaking.  I am very confident in my skills with my gun and also with my ability to get away and gain some distance from a bad guy if he grabs me, but knives are a whole new ball game.

If I am fighting with Arete and he hits me, its a hit, no big deal.  If he throws a punch and I block it, then that is the end of that one hit. Not so with a knife. If he comes at me with a knife, even if I block his wrist and he does not stab my body, he can still drag the blade down my arm as his arm gets pushed away.  If I block a punch down, then he can still slice-up my legs which he did continually.

This is the top of my left thigh.  We used completely dull plastic training knives.  No edge at all, this did not hurt me a single bit.  It's from the repetition of being "sliced" in the same spot.

Sometimes he would just go to my legs because they were there, but several times he sliced my leg as his hand went down from a block or from me moving.  It pretty much felt like whatever I did, I got "cut".  My hand, my arm, my leg, my throat, my stomach...if it had been a real fight, I would have been thoroughly Kung-Fu'd.

Extremely frustrating.  I spiraled into a complete mess in about 30 minutes.  Remember earlier when I said in order to survive one can not concentrate on surviving or on not getting hurt?  Yeah, that would have been useful information to recall. The more he sliced me the more I just kept trying not to get sliced.  I was not thinking at all about being aggressive and I was not relying on any kind of instinct, I was concentrating on how I could avoid that blade.

When I say I was a complete mess, I don't mean I cried or threw some kind of fit. I was just mentally very frustrated. The more frustrated I got the less effective I was which made me more frustrated and soon all that doubt I said I never have, came creeping back in.  For the first time in 15 months, I said, "I can't do this."  "I can't win against someone with a knife."

It is also the first time Arete has ever become annoyed with me and he gave me a bit of a "pep" talk. There was something about being a victim and getting myself killed and while he didn't yell or even cuss, his voice was different than I had ever heard it before. I would have preferred he just hit me:) After that was over, he reminded me to stop thinking and to trust myself and to do everything I have been doing all along with all my other training.  Things got much better after that.  I was able to avoid getting stabbed as often and I let myself look for opportunities where I could could strike and not just sit back and try to defend. Still a very sober exercise.

We spent maybe another 25 minutes working on those drill and he walked me through a few  more scenarios. I am still the question gal and I am always looking for ways this training would apply in a real life situation. What if this? What if that?  I ask, he shows me, we practice it. No matter what we did.  No matter how fast or how slow, more times than not some part of my body ended up on the wrong side of the blade. If ever I doubted(and I never have) that avoiding a knife fight is a darn fine idea, I sure got the message on Tuesday.

All in all it was good.

As we walked back to the car he told me to do something.  I can't remember what, but it wasn't a request.  He said, "Do blah, blah, blah."

Me- Your kind of bossy.

A- Cuz you need it.

Me- Wha..

A- Go ahead tell me I'm wrong? What? Huh? Can't hear you?

I just smile.  He smiles back. 

I get in the car and call my husband.  I tell him pretty much what I just told you.  He is laughing a little to exuberantly if you ask me. He thinks it is funny Arete gets pissy with me.  I think my husband is living vicariously through Arete...     

***Edit To all my sweet friends who are emailing me concerned about how Arete speaks to me. That last conversation was for humor. It was friendly banter between friends. He doesn't tell me what to do or boss me around and neither does my husband. Thanks for caring about me, but it's all good.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth Of July

Happy 4th of July!....



For all of our other military personnel, where ever they may be.
Support all of the troops defending our Country.

And God Bless our Military
who are protecting our Country for our Freedom.
Thanks to them, and their sacrifices, we can celebrate the 4th of July.

We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have,
of which we should be eternally grateful.

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform;
so young, so tall, so proud.
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
he'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil;
how many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.
I heard the sound of Taps one night,
when everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant 'Amen.'
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
of the mothers and the wives,
of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea.
Of unmarked graves in Arlington .
No, freedom isn't free.

Enjoy Your Freedom
God Bless Our Troops.

**This was sent to me by a woman who read my blog. She asked me to post it.

Drum Roll Please

The winners of the Give-A-Way are...

Prize number one is- #88

Prize number two is-#72

CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!!!!!!!

Please contact me by leaving a comment and/or sending me an email

Thank you to everyone who took a step forward and entered this Give-A-Way.  I hope that even if you didn't win you will not let that stop you from getting the training that you need/desire.  Let me know if I can help in someway.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gun Stuff

I am finally going to get around to taking my M&P to Robb at Virginia Arms to get some work done on it.  I am so used to carrying my Glock, set up for a right hand-er that I can't get used to the M&P being set up for a lefty.  My grip is very high up on the slide and more times than not that grip interferes with the workings of the slide lock, so that is coming off.  I can very easily use my left hand to lock the slide back.  I am also going to get new sites put on.  Very excited about this.  I have been putting it off for way to long.  Also gonna take the hubby's brand spankin new M&P(he got at the gun show this past Saturday) in for new sites and APEX parts.

My wedding anniversary is in August.  Every year my husband tries to plan a trip for us to get away and every year we have to cancel.  The first few years is was because the adopted kiddos were not ready for us to leave them and other various issues.  However, this year we are going to get the heck out of dodge.  The man that I adore thought I would enjoy a weekend of shooting as a gift.  He reads the blog.  He knows I am kind of into shooting.  So, yesterday when he read Active Response Training's daily blurb and saw this, he sent off a check.  He spoils me. My man, guns, learning, contributing to a cause...pure perfection.

Which leads me to my next point.  You know how I love military folks and I love to give things and I love to support other people in their very cool ventures?  Here is one I am crazy excited about being a part of.  Our very own and most fabulous gun holster making guy has a new project. Love. This.  It always sounds very self indulgent when I tell people where I donate my money.  Until this blog, I always gave anonymously, but I feel very strongly that if I promote something or ask you to consider giving your money to it, that you know I put my own hard earn money where my mouth is or where my blog post is.  I wouldn't put something on the blog I didn't believe enough in to pay for myself or donate to.  So, yes, I am not only posting about this en-devour of Micheal's, I am also contributing financially to support it. 

Last but not least, I am working this weekend at FPF Training, so you know what that means...I Love My Life Monday post is coming.


The other day I was at the pool waiting for my kids to get done with swim team practice and I was answering some emails.  A friend looked over my shoulder and said, "Wow, that is a lot of emails".  Then she asked me what kinds of things people say and what was the number one question asked of me.

The number one question asked of me is why I carry the gun I carry. To long to answer in this post.  I wrote a post on it before, but can't find it.  I guess I need to start organizing this thing better.

The second question asked is how do I get my wife, mother, whoever to move on past their bad guy experience. The answer usually depends on what other information they choose to include, but most of the time I refrain from advice giving and just offer an ear and encouragement.

I recently got an email from a person asking me if there is anything I don't share on the blog and what might surprise people to know about me.

I have written about it before, but, yes of course there are tons of things I don't share on the blog.  This blog is a snippet of my life and it is easy to think because I primarily write about gun/self defense things that is my entire life.  It isn't.  I would say that is probably the thing that would surprise people the most, my life isn't all guns all the time.

If you come to my house you might not even know we own guns.  We don't have a deer head hanging on the wall(although I really hope to someday)  We only have one decoration related to guns and it is the sign that you see on the side bar.  90% of my day is talking about swim team, volleyball, teenage girls and teenage boys.  Answering questions like mom can you take me here.  Mom can I do this or that.  Mom, why can't I do this or that?

Last night's dinner conversation revolved around our daughter's upcoming birthday and her plans to go to Disneyland where all the princesses will shower her with gifts.  It is worth noting we are not going to Disneyland for her birthday and we have been telling her that for a month, but the girl is relentless in her efforts to change our minds.  Stubborn and tenacious, that one.  She gets it from her dad.

Having said that, if I read a book it is in fact going to be about guns, self defense, military that kind of thing, but I rarely get a chance to read. I am currently hopping back and forth between 3 books that I desperately want to finish. If I watch a movie it will be some kind of historical war movie or something else action packed, but again, that doesn't happen often. Still not finished watching Band Of Brothers. If I have a free afternoon it will be spent shooting or the like.  If I have a choice about how to spend my time it will be in the gun/self defense realm because it is what I do now as a job and it is where my interests lie, but my kids, house, etc decide how I spend the majority of my time.

What else about me might surprise people...probably nothing. Would have to think about that a bit longer.

The other question/s I get fairly often, and this surprises me, is why doesn't John or my husband have a nickname on the blog like Arete and do I call Arete, Arete in real life.  First, no I have never called him Arete except on the blog and once in a text message as a joke. I call him by his name.

Generally, I only give people a nickname if they do not want to be identified on the blog.  Mr. & Mrs. Awesome are the exception. They didn't mind being identified, but they are too awesome and really needed to be referred to as such.  Interesting enough, both John and I do refer to them as that in real life.  I know their names, but anytime I talk about them or to them, I say something like "Oh, hey the Awesome's are here". The other day my husband said, "Babe, can you contact Mrs. Awesome and ask her a questions about blah, blah, blah.  John will also say, "Had dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Awesome"(I am still waiting for an invite)  Some things just stick.

As for John,  I first started writing about him almost as soon as I started writing the blog.  I wrote a post about my training and how incredible it was, so I used his name which is all over the internet anyway.  I wasn't trying to promote his company(like I am now:), but it made sense to tell people who I took the course from.  When I first started writing about Arete, I asked him can I say this, can I say that. He told me, I could say he was a sniper, a Marine, an MMA fighter, but nothing else and that included his name.  I had to call him something other than, that sniper/Marine/MMA fighter guy.  Arete was the most fitting name I could think of for him, although a few others come to mind since. My husband does not have a nickname because I am proud that he is my husband and I like calling him that.  I love being married to him and in real life I often call him Mr. insert-our-last-name.  Lets say our last name is Smith.  I might say something like "Good morning, Mr. Smith."  or "Thank you so much Mr. Smith"  I can't do that here, so I say my husband instead cuz you know, he is mine:).  A tid bit of info for ya, outside of the blog no one calls me AGirl, but I do have a nickname that all of my family and friends call me except John and Arete.  They both call me by my actual given name, which isn't my given name at all.

Interesting stuff, huh...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ten Commandments Of Street Survival

This weekend I got my daily email update from Active Response Training and in it was a link to Tony Blauer's Ten Commandments of Street Survival.  If you have been around the gun/self defense world a while you likely have seen it, if you are relatively new maybe not.  Either way it's worth a look.

You will be shocked, shocked, shocked to learn, I have a lot to say on this article, but because I am a merciful kind of gal, I will not share my every thought.

His first commandment is Thou Shall Not Not Train. He says this about training...
Upon reflection you realized that you lost this fight for several reasons:
  1. Your actual understanding of the theories of “intuitive radar”, “attacker profiles”, “sucker punch psychology” and “fear management” were limited.
  2. Actually, you never did “sucker punch” drills.
  3. You had never done “threshold and pain tolerance training” or
  4. Worked on “ballistic ground fighting” and
  5. You never analyzed natural stances.
I think I have made it pretty clear how I feel about training.  All kinds of training to include "sucker punch" and "threshold and pain tolerance" drills, so we will just move past that one except, quickly to the folks that might be new here, I am a fan of that kind of training.  I find it very valuable.

The second point, Thou Shall Not Defeat Thyself says this...

The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move.  Dan Millman wrote, “When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.” Powerful words.  Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent.  Your thoughts can motivate you or they can create the inertia State of psycho-physical paralysis.
Psychological fear leads to doubt and hesitation.  Unchecked it can devolve into anxiety and panic.  Unsolicited, a ‘Victim’s vocabulary’ starts: What if I lose?  What if it hurts?  What if I fail?  Thoughts like these must be eliminated from your vocabulary for you to perform at your peak.  Your ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ must be positive, assertive and motivating.  Your inner coach must empower you to greater heights, to surpass preconceived limitations, to boldly go where… you get the picture.  That is what it means to not defeat yourself.

This has become a huge new way of thinking for me.  I had never seen this article before Saturday, but he is not the only one to espouse this mindset training and the importance of it.  I have heard it again and again and I have incorporated it into the fabric of my being.  Of course, it's why some people think I am getting a little cocky.  

"What if I lose" is not a part of my thinking, ever.  I will look at different scenarios and play them out in my head or in discussions with others and try to think of ways I am not yet as prepared as I would like to be.  That helps me know where I can focus more, but me losing, that never crosses my mind.  Some people might hear that and think I am delusional or I am not looking at things realistically or that I come across too confident, not so.  That thinking is what will save my life, at least partly.  Just like training with my gun or knives, it is paramount that I train my mind.  I must believe to my core that I can overcome and the only way to do that is to eliminate any and all self doubt.  That takes practice folks.  It takes conscious effort to stop thinking like a victim.

Commandment III is very closely related to number II, worth the read, but I will skip to IV.

Commandment IV has become my mantra.

Thou Shall Not Fear Fear...

Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach, said, “The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.”  The next time you feel it – fight it.  Challenge your fear.  Attack your fear.  Do not fear fear. 

I do not let myself be afraid of anything and the more afraid of something I am, the more I force myself to do it.  I think a great paradox of surviving is that in order to survive I can't be afraid to not to.  If I am so focused on not surviving or on not getting hurt, I am too afraid to do what I need to do. The more I resolve myself to fight and not be afraid, the better chance I have to survive.  In facing things I am afraid of  I learn how to be calm in the face of adversity, how to overcome, how to survive.  Most attacks happen fast and there isn't a whole lot of time for thinking things through(that is where the other types of practice come in), but there are times when a clear head to think is going to come in handy. In my case, had I had a clear head, had I not been so afraid and so resolved not to fight, I am positive I could have avoided the entire attack. It was the bad guys fault, 100%, I hold no blame, but since bad guys are bad and there are no signs of them letting up, it is most beneficial to learn how to deal with them. Had I had the mindset I have now, he never would have got my money, he never would have me to the ground, he would not have become a permanent part of my life story. Fear did not serve me well that day, but it taught me a very valuable lesson. Fear is not helpful beyond the point of alerting us to a danger. 

I practice conquering fear everyday.  It doesn't matter if the fear is small like making phone calls or something bigger like getting hit. As ridiculous as it sounds picking up the phone to make those calls has helped me deal with my more ominous fears. We all have "little" fear we struggle with.  Things we know can't harm us and yet we can't bring ourselves to do them.  I have found each "little" fear I face helps me gain experience and confidence to face the bigger fears. The reverse is true as well.  The more big fears I face the easier it is to deal with the little ones.  Making a phone call isn't all that hard after you have broken your ribs fighting a male Marine/MMA fighter. Life works in tandem like that.

Training my mind and controlling my fears is paramount to my survival.  Not just in a life or death situation, but in simply living a more peaceful content life. For me it is important that I step up and force myself to deal with the things that scare me until I am no longer ruled by them.

I am heading back to train with Arete this week...I am not afraid.  I am not afraid.  I am not afraid:)

***For my more concerned readers, I am not really afraid to go back to training. Even though I am anxious to jump right back in, Arete is not gonna let me.

A- So this next week.  No rolling around for a wee bit longer.  Just some drills okay?

Me- Yeah, yeah, yeah...

A- Don't give me hell. Your still healing jackbutt.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Well, That Was Fun

Remember how I said I was going to start calling people in order to get over my "fear" of the phone?

The process has not been an entirely positive experience.

I wrote a post a week or so ago and in the comments this conversation took place...

Broken AndyJune 19, 2012 2:07 PM

Are you gonna be texting people too?ReplyDelete

agirlandhergunJune 19, 2012 2:41 PM

Well, I have heard from MSgt B your texting is epic, but I would need a number:)Delete

Broken AndyJune 19, 2012 2:47 PM

Inbound. Check your email.

About 2 seconds later I did get an email from Broken Andy.  The title of the email was "Fire Away"  in the body of the email was simply a phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx

I immediately send a quick text that said  "Is it just me MSgt B or is blogger acting strange?"  That was a take on a text conversation that Broken Andy had with MSgt B.  MSgt B posted their little exchange on his site a while back.  So, anyway we chit chat for a bit.

A few days later MSgt B leaves me a comment about calling him.  I ignore it, really I was just busy, but a few days later he says it again in the comments of another post, so I finally email him and tell him I don't have his number.  He says I do because we have been texting. If you know MSgt B then you know he is whitty, funny, and a joker.  So since I know he and I have never texted I just go with it and a few emails of hilarious banter are exchanged.  At one point though he sends a email with my actual phone number in the body of an email. Now this is getting interesting. I am a tiny bit perplexed.  I rack my brain and can't think of when I gave him my number. I search old emails.  I go back and check the email with the phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx to be sure it was from Broken Andy and not MSgt B.  All is good there.  Eventually I give up and decide we must have exchanged numbers at the blog shoot several months back.  No biggie.

Fast forward to this weekend, we are all getting together again, so MSgt B tells me to call him to work out the details.  Again, he insists I have his number.  Now, starting to think I have lost my mind and getting more than a little frustrated I texted Broken Andy and said...

"Please for the love of God give me MSgt B's phone number (or something to that effect). The next day, I get a text from the number xxx-xxx-xxxx that reads...

"This is MSgt B you big goob, call me."

I am now beginning to think that Broken Andy and MSgt B are the same person.  Even though they have 2 different names, 2 different blogs, and I have spent time with both of them at the same time, still, the thought crosses my mind.

I call the number and do in fact speak with MSgt B.  We mostly talk about the weather.  The actual weather because our state was hit by a nasty storm, trees down, power out, blah, blah.  When we hang up, I am so confused and lost, I email Broken Andy or at least who I think is Broken Andy...

Me- xxx-xxx-xxxx not your number???

BA- No, that is MSgt B's number.  Mine is zzz-zzz-zzzz

Me- Yes, I know.  Why did you give me MSgt B's number?

BA- Can't remember. Hope it didn't cause too much trouble.

Me- Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Thank goodness I never texted "Broken Andy" what I really think of MSgt B...that could have been embarrassing.