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A Girl and Her Gun

A Girl and Her Gun: June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Clarifying

I received 2 emails expressing care to me about my husband and PTSD. It was only 2, but if 2 thought it maybe more do, so I wanted to address it.

My husband does not have PTSD. That is not to say he does not have some lasting effects from serving his country, but my post about PTSD and those in my life who have it wasn't about him.

The paragraph where I talked about him was more about how neither of us like to discuss things that are difficult or painful in general, but also combat. When he came home from Iraq he carried a lot around with him for a while. He did have some issues, but not PTSD.

When my husband returned from any tour, he didn't talk, at all and I let him not talk. It has only been in the past few months that I have asked him things and he has started to share with me. I don't want to talk about him and his feelings because I don't want to make his feelings more than they were/are nor do I want to trivialize them. The point I was trying to make yesterday is that I have had a long habit of not dealing. Of sticking my head in the sand and making the world a very rosy place inside my head. I have always supported the men and women in the military, but I have not let myself see the full measure of their sacrifice until very recently. I certainty have not done enough to support those who suffer from PTSD or their families.

In my growth I have seen not only how I have let myself down, but how my thinking has caused me to let others down as well.  Lately I have been accepting what my responsibilities are to myself, my family and those who fight to keep me free.  As with my husband, I had put the full burden of my life on the shoulders of others and I haven't even had the decency to pay attention to what I could do for them(I have done things in general for service members, but not specifically those with PTSD).

So, for those people in my life that do have PTSD I have been getting more involved and doing more to be supportive to them and also trying to do more to support those I don't know.

Yesterday's video and info was part of that effort. Just one more way I could bring awareness to a cause I believe in and a group of people I think deserve all the support they can get.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pink or Camo...Men or Women

I have been seeing a lot of things in the shooting world geared specifically towards women and for the most part I support that. Women are different and I think it is smart for companies to address the things that are unique to women and what might appeal to them. That is good business. There are a lot of different choices in the world of guns for men too. It is smart marketing to try to reach as many people as you can. Offering a variety of products to meet the diversity that exists is wise indeed.

I am not a pink gun kind of girl and I really don't want pink anything.  I like pink, I wear it a little, but it's just not that important to me.  I am a function over form kind of gal.  When my husband buys running shoes he looks at color and style.  I look at fit, period.  I could careless what color my shoes are or if I have a single pair of running shorts to match.  I want the lightest shoe that will support my foot, so I can run as long as I want with the most comfort.  I am like that across the board.  Give me a gun that works well for me and you can make it any color out there.  If the thing that fits my need also comes in a choice of colors my choice probably isn't gonna be pink, however, I have 2 daughters that adore it and having a pink rifle is just the thing to get them excited about heading out to the range.  Thank you pink gun manufactures.  I would prefer that when I walk into a store to buy a gun item that the sales person doesn't automatically assume I want pink, but then when my husband walks into a fabric store they assume he doesn't know anything about fabric(he doesn't, but you get my point) because typically men don't shop for fabric. We do that as a society, we generalize and stereotype, it can be an annoyance, but for me it's a minor one.

Offering several colors in guns opens up options and I am all for options.  Purchasing a pink rifle or not is a personal choice that anyone can freely choose to buy or not.  If a lady would prefer something in camo she may opt for that.  If there is a man out there that sees a pink revolver that tickles his fancy, he can buy it and shoot it to his hearts content.  Most men probably would not choose that option and therefore the pink marketing really is aimed at women and I am dandy with companies doing so.  I say use whatever you can to bring more people, women, into shooting.  Pink should not be your only strategy, but I can't argue with the results.  Lots and lots of people are buying these itms.  I think it is a win for the individule that prefers pink, for the company that wants to make money and for the community at large who benefit from more folks join us in our passion.   

My issue is not with the things, but with the attitude of some. My problem is with separating out boys from girls. I am not taking about equality or fairness. Sometimes it is nice for a group of men to get together and engage in boy-ness and to be honest sometimes I get a little sick of being around all that boy-ness. Go do it without me once and a while, please. I also understand that it is nice to be in the company of only women sometimes. I know that many women feel more comfortable with other women and I am glad there is that option.  I am not knocking classes that are exclusive to one gender or the other and I am not knocking those who prefer to be in a class of all men or all women, but for me, it seems limiting.   

I want to shoot next to the guy or gal that is better than me.  I want to be pushed and challenged and I don't care if that person happens to be a man.  I want to train with the highest level of trainer I can get to train me and if that happens to be a man then so be it.  I don't want to go to a Sniper School for women.  I want to go to Sniper School. I would love it if when I went to sniper school I wasn't the only woman there, but regardless I just want to go to school. What chance is there that I could come out on top in a school like that, zero, but I can't ever know what my top level is, if I am not pushed by the best. I realize that is some what of a limited goal because I am not ever going to get a chance to shoot next to Chris Kyle, but my goal is still to push myself to the highest possible level that is available to me. In doing that, I know I will come out a much improved shooter, competitor(not in matches, just generally speaking) person and that is always my goal. 

Sometimes a person just wants to go to an all female class because it looks fun and they are not interested in pushing themselves and that is dandy. I might even join you from time to time, but if we are talking about training, serious training, I want something better than just fun.When I take advanced classes I am always the only female in the group and while I am rarely the best in the class, I am in the top few. Some women can shoot better than some men. I shoot better than lots of men. There are many, many, many women who shoot better than me, so understand, this isn't to say that I don't want to shoot with women because women are not as good as men, many times they are better. It is to say I want to shoot with the best regardless of if they are a man or a woman and I don't understand why anyone would want anything less than the best for themselves.

It's Thursday, Right?

Man, I feel like I have been running non stop for a month.  When the kids were younger our summers were lazy days of lounging by the pool, but now that they are all involved in activities, I am one hopping mama.

On the other hand I feel like a lazy bum because it has been a month since I have done any training at all...no running, no shooting(mostly) and no fighting.  I have put on 4 pounds in a month which I don't like, but good news the doctor cleared me to reengage into all normal activities as I feel able.  The x-rays showed everything healing well and I do feel much much better.  The mornings are the worst time, but even so, not awful.  The problem now will be getting Arete to find time in his schedule.  He has probably enjoyed the respite from my obsessive love to train, train, train.

I have been visiting American and Armed.  It is blog written by a young guy named Tyler.  He is a new blogger who likes guns and freedom. I thought it would be nice if you all popped on over to give him a little support and welcome him aboard.

The Give-a-Way winner will be announced a week from today!  I enjoy symbolism.  It is neat that someone will be winning a gift that helps move them into more freedom.  To offer that gift on a day our country celebrates it's ideals of being a free nation, of being a free people is special.

I got an email from a lady who wanted me to share her story of success with all of you.  I am a happy story sharing girl, so I agreed, but let me give you a little background.  This woman entered the first Give-A-Way that I did.  She didn't win, but she didn't let that stop her from getting training, a gun and her CCL.  In addition to that she works in a gun-free zone that requires special permission from a judge in order to carry a gun into that particular place of business.  It was not an easy road and it has taken her almost 6 months, but she succeed on all accounts.  That is a big fat win!

BIGGEST NEWS EVA!!! AND YOU GET MAJOR PROPS!

So, boss has been being kinda nice since I let it be known that if I didn't start getting more praise, and being treated equally, I would be gone. He was trying to justify not giving me a raise, and I let him think about it over night. His point was that the commissioners were the only ones who could give a raise. I told him "BS, I know you gave co-worker a raise last year. Now, you've shown me that I have absolutely no incentive to be a better worker, a better employee and most importantly, a better bridge between this office and the public we serve."


The next morning, I walked into his office and told him there were three things he could give me and they didn't cost a cent.  Respect, praise, and a sense of equality. Those things don't cost a cent." I then walked back to my desk. He didn't come out of his office for a long time and when he did, nothing was mentioned about our conversation.


Today, the Circuit Court judge, the only one who can give approval for concealed carry in our gun (and security) free building had some time in between cases. Nonchalantly, I said to boss "Hey, let's go talk to the judge about my CPL". I fully expected him to hem and haw his way out of it, to find some reason to not follow up on his promise. Guess what? He said YES!!


We went to the judge's chamber. Very scary for me. All he said to me was "Have you had the training? Are you mad at anyone? And then he looked at me for a long time, and said "Just be sure. When you decide to use your weapon, after you've pulled it out, be sure about what you're doing." I kinda gulped and said "OK". I don't know if he saw my hesitation. I was hesitating because, back when this all started all the cops had drilled into me that "you only pull your gun if you're going to use it".


And here's where your props come in. I never would have stuck to it without your posts and emails. Your drive and dedication are awesome. You always make me think (I think my kids would be mad if I walked into the grandkids schools and asked to see their policies!) You've shown me, again and again, how to look at things from a different angle. So, sorry this is so long. I wanted to thank you SO  MUCH for all the encouragement and help. And if you feel any of this can help someone else, go ahead and post about it.


Thanks so much!


On Sunday I think I get to do some shooting on a little blogger road trip to a range I have never been to and I believe I will finally meet some people I have been anxious to meet.  That is if I can ever get an answer on the time of said trip.  I didn't think I was going to get to go because of the ribs and a conflict, but the universe is conspiring to work out all the details for my benefit and I am beyond happy.  I think the Marine gets to come too.  A smokin' hot man(not talking about you this time MSgt B), friends, shooting...really, is there anything better???

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Holster

I know I already told you about the holster that White Dog Holsters donated to the current Give-A-Way, but now I get to tell you about the one they made for me!!!

The fine, fine folks over there contacted me and said, "we would love to make you a holster if you would like".  You know how I just love to make people happy, so I made the HUGE sacrifice and let them make me a holster.  Isn't she beautiful???!!!!!

Not just a pretty face though, she is also top notch quality.  My gun, M&P, fits nicely in there.  More snug than my gun fits in the Crossbreed I often wear.  I wore the holster the night I got it and all day yesterday and again today.  So, so, comfortable.

I like the Crossbreed very much.  It is a good quality holster, but the way it is made the barrel of my gun sticks out the bottom of the kydex which leaves a rather interesting print.  With the White Dog holster my barrel is completely covered and thus the print is more flat which is more comfortable and less odd looking.

Still a bump there, of course, but with a light cover garment, the good size gun disappears. These shots are never very flattering.  Moving on...I carry mostly concealed, so the look of the holster is more for me as not many people will actually see the design, but I like pretty things.  I wear lots of pretty things that are hidden from the view of the public, but somehow having them on makes me feel good, just like this holster does. 

THANK YOU again White Dog!!!!!!!

PTSD

Along with chivalry, I also have a fair amount of people in my life who are dealing with PTSD issues.  I would not say those two things are mutually exclusive. While post traumatic stress is not limited to those who served in the military, the people I am talking about are those who have. 

I would love to tell you more about what they go through, but the stories are not my stories to tell and I don't think they would ever let me share.  I haven't asked. 

As I have done with many things that are painful for me, I buried my head in the sand on this issue too.  Neither my husband nor I are much for chit chatting about what sucks or what hurts.  We are much more the type to deal alone and silently. There are lots of reasons for that.  Not wanting to burden others is the biggest, but also not wanting to feel the pain ranks right up there.  I have said it many times, these past 15 months has taught me the value in sharing and the healing in doing so. I do think there is a danger in staying in a place too long and reliving the event over and over to the point that one is not moving on, but instead anchoring themselves in that memory.  Not good.  There is a balance.  Finding that balance can be hard.  Recently I have become more and more involved with those dealing with PTSD. Contributing in some positive way to their healing has become a bit of an obsession of mine.

I wanted to share with you the Facebook page of some Army Wives that are reaching out and fighting for the lives of their husbands. Again let me say, I realize that PTSD is not a male issue.  We also have many women serving our country and paying a high price as well, but this group was started by a frustrated wife who's husband was not getting the care he needed.  The woman was so angry that she said "maybe if I ran naked in front of the general's building, maybe then someone would pay attention to me".  Upon further reflection she decided that might not be the best idea, so instead she posted a picture of her "bare" body on facebook and from there a movement was born. 


I also wanted to share a video I saw over at BLACKFIVE.  The video is by a former soldier who became a film maker.  The video is about his journey with PTSD.  There are several flashback scenes that some might find difficult to watch, so be warned.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Chivalry

This is one of the best things I have ever read.  I am not kidding people...GO READ IT!

I am spoiled. I am surrounded by the kind of men who exemplify what she speaks of.  I see it constantly in my life.  I see it in the men I have met through this blog. I am married to that kind of man. A chivalrous one. I work with that kind of man. I am trained by that kind of man.  I am not a child.  I am not mesmerized by shiny objects.  The men in my life are not perfect.  Whether you realize it or they do, I am aware of the dings in their armor, but the core of who they, that shines through so brightly, it is blinding.

Of course, Brigid's words speak to so much more than just the individual.  If you don't understand why, you might be part of the problem. 

Chivalry isn't dead. I see it all around me, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find. Our society is intentionally raising men (and women) to have less and less character and then when there is nothing left but empty shells of what amounts to nothing more than lost potential, those same people scratch their heads and wonder why. I say look in the mirror people. Take a long hard look. You are wimpfying our country and eventually it is going do more than just make it difficult to find a mate or a good employee or boss or friend.  Soon it is going to destroy us. The results are getting harder and harder to ignore. 

Chivalry is not easily defined, but it is obvious when one encounters someone who has it and it is also obvious when someone is lacking it.

Another Weekend

I worked, so you know that means I had a great weekend.  Every time I work I wonder if I will get bored or have a hum drum group of people show up, but so far that has not happened.

This time John invited a guest instructor.  He taught loading, reloading and malfunctions.  Great guy!

The class was an eclectic group.  We had 2 young Marines take the class. One is on the Marine Corps shooting team and one is an armor/instructor.   They were sweethearts.  I should probably mention one was a male and one was a female.  Nice folks.

We had a couple of other young guys too.  Both were a hoot and a lot of fun to chit chat with. Also a mother and her daughter, neither of which had much experience.  Both left there much more comfortable with guns.  Always great to see.

Interesting story. As we were sitting around at break(something I rarely do because I usually putting up targets etc) one of the guys asked about my blog.  Not sure how it came up, but he asked what it was called.  I told him and he said oh I have heard of that.  Another guy sitting with us said something like "yeah, it's a good blog"  Then he said, "That is how I found this course."  I said really, you read my blog?  He told me that he was on a site either Conceal Carry or some defensive site he could not remember the name of.  People were talking about my blog on one of those sites, so clicked to it, found it interesting and kept reading and then decided to take a class at FPF Training  I thought that was crazy awesome.  I really enjoyed talking with him and working with him on the line.

I had the pleasure of talking extensively with a man who has taken several courses from John as well as from practically every other person in the business.  He has taken classes from Maasad Ayoob, Todd Green, Suarez as well as one of his associates, and Tom Perroni, just to name a few.  He is retired from the Army and is quite knowledgeable about all things guns.  With all his experience he chose to bring his wife and his priest(yes I said priest) to John.  I think that says a lot.  I am sure he would and maybe will have them take other courses from other instructors, but my point is he has trained with the top instructors in the world and he felt comfortable bring his loved ones to FPF Training.  I get a lot of emails from folks who wonder if John is that good or if I am just enamored with him because he has done so much for me.  The answer is both.  I am a fan because he is that good. No one needs to depend on my word for it.  He has years and years of student testimony just like mine.

I enjoying talking with knowledgeable people because of course I like to talk guns, but I also learn a lot and it is a good gauge to see much I have learned and know.  I like that I can talk guns and self defense. I can offer some insight, perspective and my own opinions. It's cool. I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting there.  Although, the title "instructor" adds some pressure.

Up until recently, I have always been the chic who didn't know anything about guns or shooting.  I never had any pressure or expectations.  I could go out and shoot and not worry if I did well or not, but now that I am an "instructor" and I am working on the range, I feel pressure.  Not overwhelming.  I do not stay up nights worrying or doubting myself, but I want to be able to help people learn to shoot and I want to display that I am competent. The pressure is from within.  It is not from anyone else.  The people who come to train do not know my story and they assume I can shoot.They assume I know about guns.  My pressure is because I do not want them to leave the range thinking, "Really, she is an instructor???"  That does not look good for me, for John, for FPF Training, for other NRA Certified Instructors, for women...basically that would be all around bad.  Anywho, that has not been the case.  I have performed fine, however...

We do a drill called "The Initiation Drill".  The drill has two shooters stand side by side. One shooter calls a position such as 2(arms crossed in front of the body)  that same shooter then goes for his/her gun and the other shooter draws and tries to get a good shot on target before the first shooter.  I love this drill and I am pretty good at it, but I never have had any pressure before.  John calls me up to demonstrate the drill for the class(I have done it before in front of a class, but I had just hurt my ribs, so I had an "excuse" if I sucked. I didn't, but I had an excuse).  I briefly thought, I hope I do not blow this.  First shot fast, dead center perfect.  Second shot faster, dead center.  I think, literally, "Oh, good I am shooting like I know how to shoot".  Next shot, fast and way the heck up on the head.  Problem was I WAS thinking about being a good shooter instead of, you know, shooting.  No big deal.  I just called it a flier and we moved on, but lets hope next time I keep my head in the game and save the self acclamations for after the drill is over.

As is usually the case, every single person had fun(I am pretty sure) and added to their skill set.  That's a win!



Friday, June 22, 2012

Women in the Gun Industry

I got an email update to Gun Nuts Media, I know, I know, I link to him a lot(refer to previous post), but in fairness, I just found his site 2 weeks ago and he does have a lot of great stuff, anyway got the update...

The email linked to Shelley Rae's blog Guns Cars Booze and an article she wrote about Women in the Gun Industry.

Very good article. 

I am not a competitive shooter or in the gun industry, so I do not know how hard or easy is it for a female to break into that world, but I thought her perspective was interesting. 

It probably isn't that much different than any other industry where women are new or the minority.  Finding the balance between being who you are as a woman and proving that you can do the work, I assume is a challenging one.


This And That...Again

Recently my 14 year old daughter organized all my posts in a nice little folder somewhere on my computer and in the process she discovered I have a lot of posts titled "This And That", so I added the word "again" to spice things up a little.

The Cornered Cat class is full!!!  Can't wait!!

Just about 2 weeks until the Give-A-Way  winner is announced!!!


I woke up this morning feeling remarkable better.  My ribs were hardly screaming at all.  I have an appointment for a recheck of everything on Monday.
Not only do I reuse the same post titles over and over, I know I also tend to link the same blogs and resources again and again.  There are 2 main reasons for that: One I just don't have time to get to as many blogs as I would like.  I know there is a ton of great info from a variety of sources, but I just can't find the time to get there.  When I have time, I pop over to the blogs I have known from the get go and the ones I trust. Two, it usually takes me a while to know if I trust an expert source, but once I do, I go back again and again.  For example I read things by Greg Ellifritz for several months before I linked to him and now I find myself restraining from posting everything he writes.  My husband does not read any of you:) Well, a few, but mostly he just reads me. After I sent him a few articles by Mr. Ellifritz, he decided  to subscribed to the blog himself.  It's that good. It would be easier if you all just did that, but since you all have your own favorites, I will just keep posting links that I think are of interest, like this mornings.

This morning the email update I got from Active Response Training had a link to an article that talks about school shootings.  We all know how near and dear that subject is to my heart, so even before I went to MSgt B's blog, I read the article.  I also bought one of the books the article recommends, Surviving a School Shooting: A Plan of Action For Parents, Teachers And Students.  I had been reading a selection that Old NFO recently reviewed, The Admirals, but I will put that one on the back burner in favor of this one.  As with blogs, I can't find enough time to read all the books I want.  My husband will probably end up with The Admirals because I am pretty focused on self defense and right now I am very focused on keeping my kids safe as safe as I can. 

Continuing my mission, I called Keads last night and had a wonderful conversation.  Great, great guy that one is!






Time Does Heal Some Wounds

Recently my husband and I took E and her sister A to the grocery store.  These two love to go grocery shopping.  Pushing the cart gives them a thrill like no other.  It takes us twice as long, but they love it so much and we get a kick out of watching them.  The giggles make is so worth the extra time.

Once we were done and the groceries were in the car, my husband left to put the cart away and I went to put the girls in the car.  A and I walked to one side of the car and E started to go to the other.  I didn't like that, so I asked her to come over to my side to get in.  She is our question girl.  There is not a thing that I can say that will not elicit a "why" from her.

E- Why?

Me- I would just feel better.

E- Is it because you don't want the bad guy to get me?

Me- I definitely do not want the bad guy to get you.

Sometimes I choose to elaborate and tell her she is safe or that I will protect her. It depends on the situation.  We were loading up which isn't all that conducive to long conversations and she didn't seem to be agitated or afraid, so I didn't say much.

We all get in including my husband and are getting ready to head home when E says,

Mom, do you remember when the bad guy took your money and pushed you to the ground?

Me- Yes, I do.

E- I used to have bad dreams about that, but it is hard for me to remember it now.

Me- It is?

E- Yeah.  I am thinking, but I can remember if he grabbed your arm to push you down or even how much money he took(she never knew how much money he took, so I am not sure where that came from).  Do you think it is ok that I can't remember?

Me- Yes, I think it is fine.  I think you are doing great.

Before I could say anything more she asked if she could open up the small bag of chips we bought the girls for a treat and then she started to sign to A.  She had moved on, so, so did I.

I am not a psychologist and I am not saying that how we handled things was right or wrong or that anybody else should do things the same, but I was very happy to have that conversation with E.  I am happy that she is starting to forget.

We do not talk much about the March incident in our house.  The younger kids, A and H, probably are not even aware that it happened.  When I got my gun, I never sat down and said, Mom was attacked, so she got a gun.  I just brought it home like I would anything else and we started to teach them about gun safety etc.  For them, it is just a part of their life.  Of course, E is aware of what happened and for a while we spent a great deal of time talking about it.  Always initiated and directed by her.

Daily she talked about being afraid, she had nightmares, would crawl into bed with us or her sister.  She was obsessed with being safe and drew picture after picture of the bad guy, but eventually she talked about it less, the nightmares became fewer and fewer until the totally disappeared.  She started to get her joy and carefree-ness back and we just moved on. I think the fact that she isn't dwelling on it and is starting to forget the details is a good sign.  I think the fact that she feels comfortable to talk about it with me and tell me how she feels is an excellent sign. 

I don't know what the future holds.  I do not know if something will spark a memory that causes her to remember something.  I don't know if something will cause her to revisit the ugliness of that day or if for her, it is in the past.  All I know is that today she is doing better.   She is healing in a way that is healthy.  In a way that is helping her to not only feel safer and happier, but in a way that she IS safer and happier. 

As time has passed and she has grown stronger, I have breathed a little easier and slept a little better.  I forgave myself a while ago for the mistakes I made that day. I had too.  A guilt ridden mommy is not a very good mommy at all, but I will admit seeing her healing has added a level of peace in my heart that I am beyond thankful for.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Preachin To The Choir

I am pretty sure everyone or most everyone who comes here has a deep appreciation for their freedom and an even deeper love for those who have defended it.  Many of the fine folks that are kind enough to visit are like my husband, Mr. Awesome(I don't know him well), and Arete and have served, sacrificed, and paid a bit of a high price for what we enjoy.  I, like many of you, personally know wounded warriors and am patently aware of the cost for the life that I live in this country. What is interesting to me is that I hear a lot of complaining, but I have never heard a single Marine(my contact is pretty much with Marines, wounded or not) complain about their sacrifice or their injuries.  I am serious, never once.

My husband was not wounded, but the year after he returned from Iraq was a sleepless one for him and for me.  He never talked about being tired or angry about the dreams.  He just figured out how to deal.  Now, that is not to say that some servicemen have not felt a need to rage or vent and I am certainly not saying it is wrong for them to do so, just that personally, it is not a characteristic I have seen in the men I know(not to exclude the women who have served, I just do not know any, meaning talked with them about their service or spent time with them)

I have heard Marines(not necessarily from all of the ones mentioned previously) complain and get pretty pissed off about the laziness that has taken over our country. I have heard the F-word more than once when the topic of entitlement comes up.

Yesterday I posted this on my FaceBook

Last night at our kids swim meet we heard so much complaining about the heat I almost can't remember anything else.  It was hot.  The weather makes for good chit chat and even I might say, "Boy, it sure is hot out here", but it does not require 5 solid hours of bitching.  Today I saw this...

and thought, How quickly people forget.

After all the crap this administration has pulled and what appears to be complete apathy by the American people, I think it really is time to be a little more outraged and a little more "in-your-face".  I am not good at this.  I am much better and being quiet and fighting by how I vote and by my actions.  I am not sure what "in-your-face" is gonna look like from me, but I know I have been too dependent on others to fight on my behalf and I know it's time I learned to step up.





**The last 2 images are from a FaceBook page called One Boy USO.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Executive Privilege

To everyone that has emailed me that I am paranoid and crazy for thinking that our country is in real deep kimchi, you might want to wake up now and start paying attention. There have been signs for a long while.  Lots and lots of great big neon signs. Signs that are hard to miss unless you either have your head in the sand or are too busy reaping the government benefits that someone else worked or died for that you don't really want to see what is happening, but now is the time. Things are getting very scary and if you don't wake up soon, it's gonna be too late.

 Jennifer really says it better.

Battle:Los Angeles

Last week I read a post over at Gun Nuts Media.  In case you didn't click on the link the post is Caleb's take on a few gun/action/military type movies.  It was actually a review of Act of Valor, but he includes his thoughts on a few others.  He liked Act Of Valor and Taking Chance, two movies I also enjoyed, so I decided to take his recommendation on Battle:Los Angeles.

I bought it as a present for my hubby for Father's Day, but of course, it was really for me.  Ironically, it turned out to be more for him.

I enjoyed the movie. For me it was kind of a laid back easy to watch Sunday movie.  Loved the action and the story, but I thought the dialog was cheesy.  I never felt too involved in the character's lives or on the edge of my seat from the action, but still I enjoyed the effects and the shooting. 

My husband on the other hand thought the movie was excellent.  He thought they did a great job of character development and portraying the relationship between officers and enlisted Marines.  My husband was on both sides of the coin.  He was enlisted and served in hostile situations under some fine officers and some not so fine.  He also was an officer and had the responsibility to lead Marines in and out of combat.  One of the things my husband always talks about is how loud and often chaotic war is.  The loudness of war has stuck with him.  He thought this movies portrayed that well. Having never served, I would go with him on this.  I am going to re-watch it taking his perspective into account, but even with what I considered to be weak areas of the movie, I would recommended it, so if you haven't seen it, maybe you should. Don't forget the popcorn. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Pep In My Step

I am not sick, but I just feel blah. My tummy is not in the mood for food or motion.

I did want to tell you that I made my first bloggy phone call last night. I won't say to who in case he/she doesn't want the world to know he/she is my friend, but it was a nice, fairly long, comfortable chit chat. We laughed and shared just like we do via the Internet, but the phone was even better!  As I have with every single thing I have conquered big and small, when it was over I wondered what the fuss was all about.

I had planned to make call number 2 today, but I can't muster any energy. I don't think anyone wants to talk to me in my ho-hum state anyway.

The Minuteman has some extremely good posts up. I always enjoy his perspective, but he really has been hitting things out of the park lately.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Story of Inspiration, Strength and Lessons To Be Learned

Limatunes' Range Diary

Father's Day

We had a super fun and super busy weekend.  We grilled steaks on Friday(just following the recommendations of Beth Of Red Barn Farm), went to our kids mock swim meet Saturday morning(I stayed home with the boy), then boating with friends.  I have great pictures of the kids, but I need to check with our friends to see if it is OK that I post them. 

Sunday was, of course, the day we celebrated the man in our lives. Great day!!!  We mostly ate and ate and ate.  I created an appetizer that was killer.  Now, I know there are no original ideas and someone somewhere has probably made this, but it was original to me, so I am claiming it as mine!!

I started out by roasting chicken thighs covered in olive oil and rosemary slowly in a low oven.


I let them cool slightly and shredded the thighs.  I then made a wild mushroom kind of paste.  Sauteed a mixture of various mushrooms in butter and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, right at the end I added a splash or whiskey.  I normally would have added a good Spanish sherry, but I was out.  I let the alcohol burn off then pureed the mix, returned it to the pan and added a splash of cream.  Let cool.  Boil lasagna noodles and let slightly cool. The noodles are kind of important.  You want them on the al dente side, so that they are not mushy and fall apart.  Do not rinse because the gluten helps keep them together(my hubby can't eat gluten, so I also made a batch with gluten free noodles).  Lay out the noodles, spread a thin layer of the mushroom mix, put a few pieces of chicken at one end and roll up.  Put them on a baking sheet seem side up, sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, put under broiler until browned.  I know lasagne roll ups are not original, but I created the filling.  I am now obsessed with all of the different things I can use as a filling.  I am thinking my next flavor combo will be pulled pork topped with shredded smoked Gouda and a thick smokey BBQ kind of dip.



Anyway, the part that I think is original is the "dip" I made for the roll ups..

I used fresh local whole milk ricotta, drained it over night, put it on a plate, drizzled with a good fruity olive oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano then topped it with Parmesan crisps.  We dipped the rolls into the ricotta mixture...to die for!  I named my creation "556 Roll-Ups" because there are 5(noodles, mushrooms, chicken, 2 kinds of cheese) main ingredients, I made them twice(gluten and non gluten 5-5) there are 6 of us in the family and the rolls look like rifling(to me, anyway:).


We also had a pork roast that I cooked, again, slowly in a low oven.  I braised it in a mixture of pureed onions, roasted pepita seeds, cumin, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste that I had caramelized. Lemon rosemary shrimp and my world famous crestless tomato pie.

The key to the pie is fresh ripe tomatoes and fresh basil.


Seeded and laid out to dry.

Finished product.  If you are Brigid or Jennifer, you might want to add bacon.  If your Maura you probably will want to skip the topping.

The hubby's plate.  We also enjoyed a glass of Fess Parker Pinot Noir.  Our personal fav.

 We finished the day with strawberry shortcake. Yes, I made the biscuits.

I did not include full recipes because it would have made this post waaaaay too long, but if anyone is interested just email me.










Saturday, June 16, 2012

Growing A Set Of, Umm...

I subscribe to a blog called Active Response Training.  I have posted about Greg Ellifrizt before, most recently in regard to my kids and school safety. I started goggling him and following him after reading several article that JD from Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns  had posted.  I find him to be a no non-sense valuable resource on a variety of topics concerning self defense and firearms.  You might want to check him out. 

This morning he posted an article called The Simple Guide To Growing Some @#$%ing Balls  He actually posted several links to several really good articles.  This was the top story. but I skipped it.  I read every other one first and then went back and thought what the heck.

I have often talked about the act of doing.  That writing as been cathartic and the support of others has been invaluable, but what has helped me heal, helped me grow, has been the doing. 

For example after the March ordeal I was afraid.  I mean rocked to my core afraid(this is old news to most of you, but recently several new folks have joined us, so for their benefit I say it again).  Doesn't matter if that fear was overblown or justified or not(I don't think it was, just saying).  Many people have never had one bad or scary thing happen to them, but just the thought of the ugliness they see on the news and the possibility of it happening to them is enough to paralyze them.  That fear is very real.  They live in fear for years, maybe always.  They get security systems and some may even get a gun, but they are still afraid.  I have seen it here on this blog and in the emails I get.  As an aside this is not a judgement.  I know what it is like to be afraid. It isn't fun. Everyone's time table is different. I am fortunate that no one ever said to me, it's been long enough get over it, but the truth is eventually it is long enough and eventually it is time to get over it.  Not because someone else says so, but because living in that state of fear or depression or whatever it is that keeps someone in a place of misery, just isn't worth it anymore.

I say again: Doing, that is what heals.  I didn't feel ready to take my first gun training class.  I was a mess, but the millisecond after the mugging was over, I made a choice to learn how to protect myself and my family, so I showed up to that class and I stayed the whole scary time. About 3 months after that I decided I was no longer going to live in fear. I started making conscious choices to face those fears while still being afraid.  Strangely, you can't wait to get over the fear to do the thing that scares you.  You have to do the thing you are afraid of and then the fear eventually goes away.  It's masochistic, but true.  The funny thing is, for me, it didn't really matter if it was a positive event or a negative one.  The simple act of facing the fear and living through it gave me courage and confidence even if I failed. I didn't think I was ready to take the NRA Instructor Course and even though I passed, to be honest it wasn't all that pretty of an experience(I was a nervous wreck and it showed), but I still gained a ton of positive thing from that course.  Things that have stayed with me. Things that I have used in other situations where had I not faced a challenge, faltered and grown, might have caused me to fall apart.


Even with all the craziness of my childhood and the mugging, I have had a good life.  I have enjoyed it, but I haven't necessarily lived it. I will continue to fight to stay alive, but there are more important things than being safe, than simply being alive.

Like living.

Not a big revelation.  Every self help book says it, every talk show host says says it, every motivational speaker will tell you it's true, but once a person grows a set of @#$%ing balls for themselves all of a sudden it is like a GIGANTIC revelation sent from heaven and you(by you, I mean me) think, "Why didn't anyone tell me this before?" 

I have faced a lot over the past 14 months, but there are still more mountains to climb. Some I am sure I am not even aware of yet, but I am finally ready to face another fear and it's a biggie(ok, maybe not a biggie) 

I have an irrational fear of talking on the telephone.  I don't know why, but I hate it.  I can email, text, chit chat in person, I can write letters, blog, FB, even use a CB, but the phone intimidates me.  It will take me a week to get up the gumption to call the doctor to make an appointment for my kids.  I do it, of course, but I put it off until the last possible moment.  Several of you wonderful folks have given me your number, but I have never called any of you(except Dann in Ohio. I owed him an apology and I may be a chicken, but I am no coward.) because I have been too nervous. No more!  I am grabbing my balls and making some phone calls.  So, be forewarned, if you have giving my your phone number in the past, next week, I will be calling.  If you have since decided you no longer wish to receive calls from me then you better change your number, cuz I am going to keep calling and calling until I talk to you, all of you. 

**I know you all are quite accustom to my many typos and lack of editing, but I am in a real hurry here, so if this one is extraordinarily bad, I do apologize.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer

This time of year is an even busier time for me than usual.  3 of my 4 kiddos have swim team practice first thing in the morning and then the rest of the day involves arduous tasks like picnics, running kids to friends house, entertaining their friends here, trips to buy fresh fruit and veggies for the grill, etc, etc, etc.  Doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging.  Plus with the 'ol rib injury I am not shooting, sparring or any other gun bloggin kind of thing.

Quickly I will say that my ribs hurt.  Not whining just saying.  After the first day I decided not to take the Vicodin because I have to drive and the whole carrying a gun thing, so I was just taking Motrin.  That took enough of the edge off for me to function as long as I didn't move too fast, cough or sneeze.  Sneezing has become my biggest fear.  Anyway, the other day my daughter E had a friend over, her mother is a nurse.  She saw the bruise on my arm, asked about it, I told her what happened and what I was taking for the pain.  She suggested I also take Tylenol along with the Motrin.  That was brilliant.  That really has helped tremendously.  What is strange to me is that the 7th rib is lower(I think) on my body than where I feel the most pain.  I feel it high up into the rib cage and even when I am not "in pain" there is a kind of an annoying dull ache that radiates around my chest.  Again, I am not complaining, I am fine, just explaining for the folks that have asked.  I go to see my regular doctor next week for new x-rays or a CT or both not sure, but I am going to ask to see the film(do they still call it film) to get a better idea of exactly what I did to my body.  As an aside, I have been a very good girl.  Lynne can tell you I behaved myself at the NTYDTTRD.  I took it easy and didn't lift a thing all while still performing my assigned duties.  I have not shot a single round or ran a single step.

Since I am short on time I am going to send you around the blogosphere...

Yesterday Eric left a comment on the blog with a link to a story of a woman who handled a situation that could have gotten dicey, but her wit and preparedness made sure it didn't.

Old NFO posted a list of places that donate a good deal of their money to either Democrats or Republicans.  While that might not be the only piece of information you use to decide whether or not to spend your money at a certain place, I think it is nice to know.

Brigid has a great post(always does) that is really worth the read. 

**EDIT**And that will teach me to write a post before I do my daily check of MSgt B's blog.  


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cornered Cat Training-Another Update

If you have been visiting here awhile then you already are aware that I am a big fan of Kathy Jackson's.  She was the first site I found when I goggled "guns for women" 14 months ago. I remember reading her section on kids and guns and feeling a huge sense of relief about the fact that I had just brought a gun into my home. I sent her an email right away telling her what a great resource of information and comfort she been through her site. I am sure she doesn't recall, but I will never forget the peace I felt. She is smart and knowledgeable.  She can shoot and she is funny.  She is no non-sense, but compassionate and real.  I had no idea back then that my blog would develop into a place where people would come to share their lives with guns and I had no idea that someday I would be hosting THE Cornered Cat at a range here in Virginia.

When Kathy started her FaceBook page, I was one of the first people to like it and to my surprise she liked my page back and even more she comments and occasionally links to my blog. I am not friends with Kathy, I do not want to over sell my relationship with her, but we are friendly and she has become a more personal person of support and encouragement to me, but I see that kind of support from her to many, many, many men and women.  

She doesn't have an ounce of arrogance or pretension about her.  There are a few people I follow and learn from and enjoy, but I never see them comment on anyone's site or FB or YouTube page.  They don't offer any kind of support or encouragement and that is fine.  They do not owe any one a thing, but I think it says so much about a person when they do take the time to share not only  their knowledge, but also their support, Kathy is that person.

I had the pleasure of being able to take her course in Tennessee(an early birthday gift from my husband) and if you read the post you will see that the experience was one of great value to me. 

I can't promise you that Kathy will be anything more than an fabulous instructor to you if you come join us in Culpeper, but I can promise you a class where you will have fun and learn a great deal of knowledge and add to your gun totin' skills.  Having said all that, we only have one spot open, but I would love to fill it.  If you are interested send me an email or click this link for more info or just use the Paypal button on the right side bar. to pay.

For those of you that have already signed up, I am really looking forward to meeting you!!

Here is what one fellow blogger had to say about getting Kathy's book...

"Ok when you said you were going to send me a book, I had not even thought this would be it. I am SOOO excited! We have been wanting to get this book. So I will be starting it promptly.- Jalissa of The Lowry Place

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Give-A-Way-Update With New Donations

A month ago I was contacted by woman from White Dog Holsters and she asked if she could donate a holster to me for a future Give-A-Way.  I had, of course, heard of her company and knew their reputation to be excellent, so I said, yes, yes, yes and thank you!!!  I have had the pleasure of getting to know her on a more personal level and I just love her.  She is an amazing lady.



About 2 days after I got the email from White Dog Holsters I received an email from a very nice man, Cambert Allan Carter,  asking if he could donate money to me that I would then use to help a woman or two get some training.  We have also chatted back and forth several times and to say I have a fondness for this man would be a HUGE understatement. 

He sent me xx amount of dollars and said that I could do whatever I wanted with it, but he hoped that I would use some of it for my own training.  My first inclination was to say no because I am not very gracious at receiving, but it is something that I am trying to get better at, so I told him I was honored and that I would accept his gift, but upon further reflection I have decided to use his full amount plus some of my own money towards helping other women get training and here is why.

I am extremely fortunate to have access to the kind of training I get.  I have attended more trainings in one year than some people attend in 5 years.  I have one on one training from 2 of the best trainers in the country.  I can ask questions of them anytime, I can get advice(sometimes even when I don't like it or want it), I work with one or both of them on an almost weekly basis.  I have been to 5 training courses this year and I have only paid for 2. Daily, I get emails from people telling me how cost prohibitive training is for them.  How they wish they could afford the kind of training I do and how they wish they could find the quality of instruction I have. Training is expensive and while I believe it is worth every penny, I understand the realities of life and budgeting, heck, I can't even afford the kind of training I get. Therefore, I can not in good conscience take money from someone who needs it and plus I really do think it's better to give than receive.

Here it goes...

The Gift 
First Place-
-$200 toward defensive firearms training
-An OWB Holster from White Dog Holsters
-100 rounds of ammo in .380, 9mm, 40 cal or 45 ACP
-The Cornered Cat: A Woman's Guide To Concealed Carry
-$25 Gift Certificate To MidwayUSA donated by Keads
-Glow Shot Reactive Target Multi-Color Targets donated by Mazie(Previous Give a Way Winner)
-Do-All "The Dancing Ball" Target donated by Mazie(Previous Give-A-Way Winner)
-For the beginner in shotgun or the more advanced shooter, we have the right challenge. I would give away a 4 hr. shotgun class, a $550.00 value. The ability and interest of the winner would determine what we cover. We then will set up a class for them, tailored to suit their specific needs. Donated by Sopris Shooters(this is a separate gift and NOT part of the $200 to be spent on a defensive shooting course)
-Signed(personally to the winner) and numbered copy of Above Reproach donated by J.D. Kinman

Second Place-
-$200 toward defensive firearms training
-100 rounds of ammo in .380, 9mm, 40 cal or 45 ACP
-The Cornered Cat: A Woman's Guide To Concealed Carry
-$25 Gift Certificate To MidwayUSA donated by Keads
-Signed(personally to the winner) and numbered copy of Above Reproach donated by J.D. Kinman
-Glow Shot Reactive Target Multi-Color Targets donated by Maize(Previous Contest Winner)

*If one or both of the winners live in or near Virginia: A shopping trip(for expert advice on firearms or gear) to a local gun shop OR one hour of private instruction donated by Lynne.


 RULES
-This is for women only, ages 21 or older
-Must be used for a defensive firearm training course to include some range time
-Course must be held in The United States of America by a reputable instructor/course(determined by me)
-Entries must be received by Tuesday July 3, 2012 (Drawing to held on Wednesday July 4rd, 2012)
-Must be signed up for an approved course by December 1st, 2012 or forfeit prize.
HOW TO ENTER
All entries must send an email to agirlandhergun@gmail.com You MUST include your full name and email address.  Entries missing information will not be entered. All personal information will be kept private and confidential.  Each entry will receive a number and that number is all that will appear on the blog when the winner is announced.

**If you have entered a previous Give-A-Way, you may enter again. If you have won one, you may not:)

**This Give-A-Way is open to all levels of training not just a basic course.

Monday, June 11, 2012

NTYDTTRD

On Saturday I got up at 3:45am(I have been telling everyone 3am, but my husband says he thinks it was more like 3:45 and he has a track record of being right, so:) to get myself ready for the big National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day Event.  I had been supporting and following the progress since day one and I was thrilled that it finally had arrived!

Lynne asked me to get to the range by 6:00, so that is what I did.  She and the others actually had everything under control when I got there, so  I mostly did little things like open up boxes of juice and water and set them up on the table along with some scones.  Basically, I did not do much, but that left me time to meet some of the other team members and by now most of you know how much I love to hear people share their stories. 

One person I was fortunate to get to chitchat with was Dick Heller. I had met Mr. Heller one other time when I attend a conference put on by Students For Conceal Carry On Campus, but it was brief.  He was a delight then and he was a delight on Saturday.  He asked if I wanted my picture taken with him and I said, of course!  He picked up a piece of paper and started to pretend he was teaching me something, but before anyone could take the picture he said "Wait, no, you should be teaching me."


I asked if I could put the picture on the blog and he said yes and be sure to tell them I fought for their Second Amendment Rights, then he said, they probably won't care.  I assured him that the readers of this blog did indeed care.  I explained that the fine folks that visit here are the ones who taught me about the importance of his landmark case.  "Really?"  he said.  Really! 

In case you are new to guns and you are not sure who he is, do not feel bad, just be sure to click on the link and read his story.  It is remarkable.

Later he strapped on the gun that was at the center of the Supreme Court case and I asked if I could take a picture of it.  He is extremely proud of that gun and he was quite particular about the photos being taken of it.  I took 17 before he found one he felt was suitable for the blog.


He took pictures with everyone.  One gentleman wanted Mr. Heller in the middle of him and his daughter, but Dick said , nope.  He said the little girl was the hero and she should be in the middle and so it was. He tells a great story about a kidney donor they found and even though he told it openly and not in confidence to me, it is his story to tell.  If you ever get a chance to meet him, ask him about it.

In addition to Mr. Heller I met a heck of a lot of other great people.  I spent a lot of time with a woman named Laura.  Laura is the wife of Evan, the President of Innovative Defensive Solutions.  IDS is a major sponsor of the event.  I meant to get my pic with Laura, but we got busy.  She is a gorgeous thing and sweet as can be.  Funny and has a potty mouth that she is kind of proud of.  She made me laugh a lot. Smart, quick wit...I might have hit on her if we both were not already married.

 I met The Director of Education and Training for the NRA, Mr. Bill Poole.  What a fantastic man.  Kind and encouraging.  Really enjoyed my conversations with him.  I also spent a great deal of time talking with a man who does security for high profile peeps overseas.  Learned a ton from him and got some great resources.  Funny, kind, encouraging, generous.  Did a little smack talking with a young guy who works for IDS.  Good times.

Every second was enjoyable, including getting to see my boss. John stopped by and Lynne finally got to meet him, but the very best part of the day was seeing those kiddos faces light up after they came off the range. 

I was a greeter which meant that as families came in I handed them our form to fill out, explained how things worked, asked if they needed eyes and/or ears, let them draw for a door prize, that kind of thing.  I also escorted kiddos to their lane on the range and I greeted them again when they were done shooting.  Laura and Mr.Heller were also greeters.

The event was billed as Take your "Daughter" to The Range, but we had entire families show up to shoot.  Boys as well as girls.  We had girls as young as 6 who had never shot before and we had "girls" well into their 40's.  We had a girl about 9 or 10 come in with her father, both shooters and to see the confidence in her eyes was encouraging and inspiring. More than one of us became teary eyed more than once throughout the day.  Every single person who left made sure they stopped by the table to say thank you and to let us know what a great event it was.  People were actually asking to buy things like T-Shirts, mugs, etc.  That is a very good sign.

Lynne and the whole crew were great to work for.  We had lots of treats including the most delicious cake that I got to bring home. Another fab person, a man I took the Protection Inside The Home Course with, carried it out to my car for me. He told me a crazy story of a gun fight he was sort of in.   Great people, great time, great event!! I truly can not wait until next year!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Win

I got an email from someone, several actually, commending me for how I have handled the criticism on my training.  I told them that actually it isn't all that impressive because the comments have been 99% positive and in support of me and my training versus 1% not so much.  Nothing to get worked up about, but also if a person is comfortable with who they are (and I am) and the choices they make there is no need to get upset with those who disagree.  Changing who you are to please others is just silly.  If you do they will not care and you will be left unhappy.  If I was going to change who I was for others I would have done it when I started carrying a gun and I lost friends, good friends.  People I had a history and a fondness for, but I didn't change what I believed to be right, so a few people I didn't even know existed  2 days ago, them disagreeing with me doesn't even hit my radar.  Yes, some people were ugly, but that really says more about them then it does me. 

I can't remember where I left a comment about why I train the way I train, but the response...was your an idiot, I bet you don't even have a flak jacket.  No, no I don't.  Oh my, how that pleased me.  I know it was meant as an insult, but I just kept thinking a year ago I turned off City Slickers because it was too violent and now someone thinks I am doing an activity so dangerous it would require (in his mind) a flak jacket.  I can not tell you how happy that made me. 

I have been getting emails and comments from people who never knew who I was before people started talking about me.  I have met folks I never would have met.  People have been exposed to more than my training, they have been exposed to me and my story and they have been touched.  Beautiful.

Through Say Uncle posting twice(I enjoyed those dialogs and comments) and Caleb at Gun Nuts Media, I think I got exposure I never would have got.  Even though these two have opposite opinions about my kind of training(not me specifically, just the training I do) they both presented what I think are respectful and thoughtful opinions on an issue that is not black and white. All the chitchat has brought some VERY cool opportunities my way.  I am beyond excited about them.

The very best thing is that my training, something I am doing for myself, being authentically me, is generating a discussion on training.  My post got 70 comments and I think I must have received at least half that many emails.  Other blogs have reached people and the discussion is on going.  People who read me and have thought, I don't think I can carry a gun, but I do think I could take some self defense classes are now actually going to take those classes.  My behavior has influenced discussion and thought and action.  Unbelievably awesome!!!

In my eyes that is a win, win, win!!  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life????

There is more joy to come too. Soon I will write about National Take your Daughter To The Range Day which was just too good for words!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Weekend

I have a very busy one. Tonight I am helping my 14 year old get ready for formal, then meet up with her friends at the park for pictures and fun. Tomorrow I have the NTYDTTRD and Sunday we have appointment with our lawyer and dinner with friends. My husband is taking taking our daughter on a kayaking trip as well. Lots of fun, but I will be busy, busy, busy. I will catch up with you all on Monday. Have a safe and fun time!!!

National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day








I met Lynne several months ago.  I started following her blog about the same time she started following mine.  We share a passion for women, firearms, and helping, so our friendship was bound to grow.

One day Lynne posted a status update that said "Hey what do you all think of a National Take Your Daughter To The Range Day?"  Everyone liked it and there was much chitchat about how cool it would be.  A week or so later she had a website and some basic info on the idea.  A week later a donate button was installed which I have hit several times.  Next thing I know her little  FaceBook idea exploded into a national phenomenon.  Pure joy to watch her shine.

Tomorrow I have the honor and privilege to work the event taking place at the NRA Headquarters Range in Fairfax, Virginia.   I am so excited to be a part of this day!!!

If you are going to be there be sure to say hi and if not hopefully many of you will be participating at ranges near you!!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Am The talk of The Town

I have been out all day with my daughter shopping for her upcoming formal.  We went to Starbucks this morning then to a mall in a bigger city.  We laughed and joked and found the most beautiful dress for her, on sale thank you very much.  Then we went to lunch where I got to sit and listen to tell me about school, testing, her friends, the boy she likes and her nerves about entering high school next year.  I have never enjoyed not talking in all my life. 

I haven't had a chance to visit the blog world, but I have had a chance to glance at the emails that have come in letting me know that there is much buzz a foot about AGirl and her training.  Crazy cool.

I am soon off to swim team and therefore probably won't get a chance to visit my favorite bloggers until much later, but I did pop on over to In Jennifer's Head.  If you are curious about how I feel read the comments.

I love, love, love the love, and I promise you with ever fiber of being the not-so-much-love doesn't bother me in the least.  If you left a comment of encouragement, if you emailed, called or texted me...THANK YOU!

Violence

I have been meaning to post this for a week or so, but I have been side tracked by other issues.  I think everything Bill posts is right on.  I learn a lot from him.  Take a look.

I think mindset is critically important, but I think doing is what makes the biggest impact.  As I have said before sitting around and writing all my issues on this blog is cathartic and makes me feel better, but it does nothing to help me heal.  I have to make changes and I have to do.  If I want to be safer I have to do more than read gun blogs and self defense books, I have to show up at the range and the gym.

I have received 2 kinds of emails since I got hurt in training..."I am so worried about you getting hurt, please stop" and "Thank you so much. After I was attacked I took the same kind for training and it helped, thank you, thank you, for sharing."  The last group doesn't need me to explain more, but the first group still needs a little more information.  I want to be clear...while I care about people, I don't care if they like or agree with my choices. I clearly reach a lot of people through this blog and helping others is very important to me, so if I can be more specific about why I do something to help others understand then I am happy to do it.

I know a guy who took a force on force training course.  No pads.  It was man on man, 2 on 1, 3 on 1, etc.  They were fighting from inside a car and in any number of odd positions.  He has a scar on his head from bashing against another person so many times and he still limps, 2 months later from a leg injury he though he was going to need surgery for.  I asked him if any women were in the class.  He said no.  He said the man teaching the course told him woman rarely sign up.  He also said generally many of the men signed up drop out after day one because they can't handle the intensity of the hard core training.   He tells that story again and again and not one person has suggested he is crazy.   I know 2 guys that skipped their boxing class because the week before the training was so intense they hadn't healed yet and were not ready to get back in the ring.  No one thought they were nuts for taking a week off or for returning 2 weeks later. When I was having a hard time with the idea of hitting another human being, I got comment after comment from guys who did similar training and said if they hesitated like I did, their instructor would have just hit them.  I know a lady who's instructor hits her in the face, no pads.  I know a kid, 19, who trains with a martial arts guy that hits him with boards in the arms and stomach again and again...no pads.  It's a "hardening" process that helps condition the body to both get used to the pain and increase tolerance for it.  You should see his bruises.

I think it is vitally important for people to train the way they fight and if I ever find myself on the ground again, I want to know how to fight my way out.  Statistic say the chances of me getting attacked again are pretty slim. The way I train I probably will never be selected a second time, but the numbers also say that most crime happens at night and in seclude areas, but mine happened in broad day light in the middle of a parking lot. I don't rely on numbers much.  I need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am prepared to handle any situation that might confront me.  I have to know that I can win.  I have to do what I feel I need to do, so that while I live my normal life I am not scared and tense, but confident and relaxed.  I need to know that while I am out shopping with my daughter for her formal dress, I can keep her safe.  I need to rely on myself.  Not a single other person was in that parking lot that day to keep me from being attacked.  No cop, no husband, no trainer, no friend, no gun blogger, just me, my daughter and the bad guy. You already know how that ended. 

Probably not everyone needs to get their mind used to the idea of violence.  Probably not everyone needs to face some in order to deprogram their minds, but I do.  Of course after reading Colonial Grossman's book, there might be a few more out there like me than first thought. I can watch videos and I can read stories and I can listen to others share their experiences, but until I face it for myself, I won't know and it is massively important that inside my own being, I know.  I have to know because on the day I needed it, no one else will be there to tell me and no one else will have to live with the aftermath.

A few months ago, I never would have got involved.  At the end the author says, "It's time to be that person."  I have no idea if he was only talking to the men, but what if I am the only one there?  What if there isn't a big man or two to help her.  What if it is just me?  I know for sure before I started training that I would have been too paralyzed by fear and of getting hurt to help.  Avoiding pain and death would have kept me from even trying.  I also know for sure that regardless of the odds, there is no way I will stand by and watch another woman being victimized and not help, regardless of the risk.  The more trained I am the better prepared I will be if ever I need to defend myself or help another. The more training, the better the training, the more intense and diverse the training, the more I believe I will be able to do whatever I need to do.    That's the point of MY training.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Refrigerators Belong In The Kitchen


We lived in California during the last big housing boom.  Everyone was buying bigger homes and building custom everything.  One of the crazes at the time was making everything in the kitchen blend in, so the designers would cover up the dishwasher, stove, refrigerator with panels that matched the cupboards.  That's fine.  Nothing wrong with that except when I went to a friend's house and she would say help yourself to whatever is in the fridge, I couldn't. I would spend an hour wondering around trying to find the blasted thing.  I like pretty, but when the function loses out to aesthetics, I kind of don't get it.  I could see if for some reason you had to put your stove or icebox in your bathroom; perhaps you might want to hide them.  Those things do not belong in a bathroom, but one does expect to find things for keeping and cooking food in a kitchen, so I say lets just let them all hang out right there in the open.

What does that little rant have to do with guns you might ask...

There's nothing wrong with being both feminine *and* competent. There's a lot wrong with deciding to be feminine *instead* of competent- The Cornered Cat

I don't have anything against pink guns or bra holsters or stilettos with daggers in the heels(ok, I do actually have a problem with that one), but I do have a problem with people making excuses to put their safety second or third or forth behind being girly or attractive or sexy.  I do have a problem with not learning to shot or fight or change a tire or speak up and say NO because it isn't considered dainty or womanly.  I fell into this jacked up way of thinking myself, but it really is about time we move passed this archaic way of being. It is time we stop using these convenient excuses to justify our own  lack of responsibility.  

The principal form follows function isn't just for architecture.  Have a pretty kitchen, show off your assets, care for your man(or woman), but for the love of God, leave the refrigerator in a condition where it can be found, learn to depend one your own abilities and please, please, please don't sacrifice your security for a pair of shoes that make your legs look slimmer.

Something To Prove

Since I promised my family I would sit around yesterday and rest, I had the time to read every comment on my post Should Have Listened To My husband(which was suppose to be a joke title) and also respond immediately to every email.

I got lots of "Are you crazy?"  "What were you thinking?"  emails.

I fully understand the concern and I even though I was trying to be funny and express that I was both happy and proud of myself, I can see how people who have grown to care about me would want to protect me and be sure that I wasn't out there being reckless or careless.

My first reaction to all the comments was, crap, I hope Arete isn't reading my blog today and I hope he doesn't decided back off. In hindsight that was kind of a stupid thing because I don't think he lets other people think for him all that often nor do I believe he bows to pressure, but still I worry, so I asked him...

"You are still gonna hit me right???"  His response was, "Why would I stop?"  Now, I admit that is an odd conversation and not one I thought I would ever have, but the answer made me smile.

I was having a difficult time explaining myself yesterday and since we all know I am a thinker and I have to understand everything, I started thinking. Again, probably not the best thing to do yesterday because I was tired, I actually was in a lot of pain and I don't think the narcotics were completely out of my system, which is why the rest of my text conversation with Arete isn't appearing on the blog.  It was a little odd.  I had a hard time understanding what he meant and I got confused and frustrated. He would say something and I would answer and he would type, "not where I was going with that". I thought, Huh, where else were you going?  My thinking wasn't super clear.  I couldn't articulate myself very well to him or to any of you.  After my husband made me some Maple Bacon popcorn(nobody tell Maura)


I gave up and went to bed.

This morning I woke up still in pain, but with a clearer head.  I popped on over The Sheepdog Tip Of The Day  I read this...

One of your primary goals as a warrior is to train and mentally condition yourself to keep going when you have been shot. You must understand and accept that you might get wounded, and understand deeply and intensely that you will keep fighting until the threat is no longer present. You can do it and you must do it. You must control and direct the power of your adrenaline.Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, On Combat

Yes, that is what I am trying to say.  I am not being reckless and I am not trying to hurt myself, but I think that there is huge value in my getting hurt.  I am not getting hurt on purpose.  I don't do stupid things.  I am not out late at night standing on the street corner looking for a fight(although I did make a joke about this once to Arete, he advised against it).  I train safely and with a purpose, but I also try to have fun and take risks. Sometimes things happen and I get hurt, but even in those rare times there is a lesson, there is a benefit.  I kept going.  Anybody remember a time when I totally gave up?

I said I wasn't trying to prove anything and on that day during that exchange I wasn't.  I was feeling very proud of myself and I was relaxed and when I am in a mood like that I am goofy.  I was being goofy and so was he.  I did not think I need to kick his butt or think I can take him down.  I didn't think anything, I was simply messing around.  After, when I started to feel pain, I also wasn't trying to prove anything, by not going to the doctor.  I did not think there was a serious issue and it was important to me that I showed up to work.  On Saturday I had already agreed that on Monday I would go see my physician.  I was not trying to prove I was tough(which I think I proved I am:), but in general I am trying to prove something.  I am trying prove to myself that I can face things that scare me, face things that are hard. I am trying to test my mind and my body and the only way to do that, is to do that. The only way for me to know if I can take a punch is to get punched.  I mean that literally and metaphorically.

I was not and am not the slightest bit annoyed or upset that people were concerned or that people suggested I use pads or take it easy.  Those words show people care and I am always up for that.  Plus, I have been fragile both physically and mentally, so it is natural to think I might not quite be ready for broken ribs or perhaps that I am pushing too far too fast.  I understand that and I am lucky to have so many who take the time to offer me their wisdom, encouragement and warnings.  I am thankful for those words because I can look at what is said by people I trust and analyze it.  "Does he/she have a point?"  "Why am I doing that?"  "Was that insane?" "Did it serve my goal?"  What a gift you all give me.  I cherish you all and I relish in the opportunity to grow.   I appreciate you so much!

Having said that...once I am healed, I intend to keep training as hard and without pads:)

















Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Should Have Listened To My husband

After my training session with Arete on Thursday, I started to feel not so great, but I have a high tolerance for pain and like most people I am not all that fond of going to the doctor, so even though my husband(and others) continued to press, I didn't go.

Saturday morning I felt sore, but not awful, so I figured I was on the mend and all was well.  By noon on Saturday I knew that was not the case.  I was in a lot of pain and while the Mortrin was helping, it was not helping enough.  Sunday was brutal, but I am not a complainer and plus I had work to do. Sunday night I was a mess and my husband said, you really need to go to the doctor.  I agreed. 

Yesterday he had a regular appointment at our doctor, so while there he tried to make me an appointment, but they were booked solid and couldn't see me for a few days.  No problem.  I thought, well if they are not concerned I shouldn't be and maybe I don't need to go. My husband disagreed with my assessment.

Around 1ish, I started to get sick to my stomach from the pain, so I tried to eat a few crackers, but they did not sit well causing me to throw up.  By the time I stopped throwing up the pain was unbearable and I decided a trip to the doctor was needed.  My husband called the doctor again to see if someone cancelled and if they could squeeze me in, but they couldn't and suggested I to go to the ER.

For the first time ever the ER actually sounded good.  I drove myself which sucked.  I walked in and the woman at the counter said are you in pain?  I said yes.  She had me fill out a piece of paper that only asked for my name and why I was there.  That was it.  She had me sit down and tell her what happened and to rate the pain from 1-10.  10 being the worst.  I told her if I sat perfectly still an 8, but if I moved or coughed, 11. She took me straight back to a room. 

A physicians assistant came in and asked me what happened.  I said I was training and got hurt.  What kind of training he asked.  I told him self defense training.  He wanted to know the name of the type of training I do.  There is no name for what I do, so I just said I am training with an MMA guy.  His eyes got huge and he said "You fight MMA?".  I started to laugh, but it hurt too much. I said no.  I am just training to learn how to defend myself.  The hospital has NO WEAPON signs everyone, so I was trying to be careful about what I said.  Anyway, he said tell me exactly what happened. I did. He winced and said, "Good grief, lets get you looked at."

Every single person who came in was so crazy nice and each one of them asked me why I was there.  The nurse that came in to help me get into a gown asked why I was there.  I told her and she said, I do self defense training too.  Apparently our rec center offers several 6 week courses.  She is on her 2nd 6 week session.  We compared bruises.  She saw my wrists and said, are you learning what to do if someone grabs your gun?  It was pretty cool. I wanted to tell her about my blog, but because of the name of my blog, I opted not to.

The doctor came in and explained that the biggest concern was to check out my vital organs and look for blood clots. He was very worried about a partially collapsed lung because I was having a very hard time breathing.  He ordered blood work, an x-ray and a CT scan.  I had never had a CT scan before, so that was odd.  When the tech put the meds in my IV he said you will feel like you have to pee, but I promise you won't, so don't freak out.  I was thinking who freaks out if their bladder feels full.  Then he put the iodine(I think ) in and I was like, "Oh, that is not my bladder that feels like it has to pee."  Strange feeling.

I was in a lot of pain and the doctor didn't really explain everything super well.  He came in and said your insides are a mess.  You have a lot of swelling, torn cartilage, bruising probably everywhere and some fractured ribs  My 7th rib has 2 hairline fractures.  Most everything in on the left side.  He never did show me the xray itself or whatever comes from a CT scan, but he didn't seem concerned about the injuries themselves.  He was more concerned about getting me pain medication and impressing upon me the importance of not waiting to be seen for this kind of trauma. He told me he was not happy about me waiting 4 days to come in.  Not because of the ribs or even the sternum, but because I could have damaged my spleen or my lungs.  I could have had a blood clot. He told me I was tough, I had proved that and he wouldn't mess with me, but that next time I get injured, he would like to see me right a way.  I promised him I would come in immediately next time. 

I think I look super cute.



For the record I wasn't trying to prove anything. First, I honestly did not believe I was hurt.  I did hear cracking for sure, but I thought it was my back cracking like when I crack my knuckles, not something really cracking.  After it happened, I did feel fine.  Until later Thursday evening, I didn't even feel tenderness. Must have been the adrenaline or something.

I also was afraid that if I had something more serious Arete would be all coddling and not train me as hard and that is NOT what I want. 

Lastly, I had to work and I take pride in doing a good job.  I don't like to be late, ever. I don't like to take sick days, I don't like to make excuses.  It is a personal pride issue.  I had the same standard for myself when I did volunteer work for the Navy- Marine Corps Relief Society.   But with this job there is more than personal pride involved. I want to help John. I want to contribute in a way that aids him.  I want to do the work that frees him up to focus on teaching and the students. He can't do that if I am sitting on my butt watching him put up the awnings.   If he asks me to do something,  I do it.  I almost never know how to do what he is asking me, but I figure it out and I do it.  I will admit that on Saturday when I was trying to put up the awnings, I wished Ryan was there to show me how, but I was able figured it out.  The problem was that they are large and heavy and I had to put my hands over my head a lot and that caused me to be in a great deal of pain, so I did ask John to pick up the generators for me. I knew I couldn't handle the pain of that.  Up until the doctor told me I was pretty significantly hurt, I felt awful about not putting the generators away myself, which is ridiculous because John didn't care, I am sure.

Back to the ER visit. The doctor asked me if I was ready for  some meds to manage the pain now.  I said yes please.  I never say yes, but it hurt, bad.  I assumed Tylenol or Motrin, but the nurse had 2 syringes with her.  She said how are you getting home, but before I could answer she said I am giving you Toradol and Morphine. Her point was that I was not to drive.  I have never had Morphine before.  When she put it in the IV, I got the strangest feeling.  I can't explain it, but as it went into my veins, I felt an odd sensation.  I also got a prescription for Vicodin to manage the pain for the next several weeks.  Don't think I have ever had that either.  Finally, they were done with me and said I could go home as soon as my son arrived.

The nurse came in to give me my restriction and my discharge papers...

How many discharge papers do you think say NO fighting on them??