The Story

A few weeks ago Rabid Alien sent me an email and offered to read every single post I have ever written and then organize those that tell “The Story” of how I got here. I was beyond touched that he would take time out of his busy life, so that people who come here and are interested in understanding a little more about me can do so in one place.

Today he sent me his completed list of posts and Barron set up page dedicated to those posts. The page can be found at the top and it is titled, appropriately, The Story.

Thank you both so very much!!


Back to School w/ XXX Sheriff’s Office

On August 21, 2012, the first day of school in XXX County, the Sheriff’s Office Command Staff will be present at all Elementary Schools in the county to welcome students to the new school year.

The Command Staff will greet the children and assist with getting them to their classes if needed.  This will help the children learn that law enforcement officers are there to help them should they ever need help and to make them feel at ease approaching a deputy.

The XXX School System is excited about joining forces with the Sheriff’s Office to get the new academic year off to a great safe start.

That is the email I just received from my children’s principal. As some of you know my husband and I have been having an on going dialog with school officials and have been pushing the county pretty hard on doing more proactive things to keep the kids safer. I am not sure what I think of this yet, but I think it is interesting. I do like having an armed presence on campus, even if it is only for one day.

I’m Off

I will be off line for the next 4 days. Tomorrow morning my hubby and I are off on a road trip…final destination Ohio. Not exactly sure what we will be doing in Ohio as the sign ups for the courses are done on site. I don’t know how many people are attending or what classes we will actually get into, but it doesn’t much matter. I am positive we will learn and have fun.

As always have fun, be safe and try not to miss me too much:)

The Guest

If you come to my house for dinner it is generally a pretty laid back experience. I mostly make whatever I see at the store that looks fresh or interesting. That is how I make most meals actually. We like having people over, so it’s not a stressful time for me, but this guest was different. I felt some pressure.

For one I don’t know him very well and plus I had unintentionally insulted him and humiliated him by my cat like quickness. Not to mention those couple of times that I intentionally insulted him and maybe once said something about his mother. Anyway, I was trying to make a good 4th impression. I decided to start by becoming an Auburn fan. A tribute to his beloved Alma Mater…

“M” made shirts.

I tried to get the kids on board, but they weren’t feeling it.

Step two on my plan to get into his good graces was food. I spent the day cooking.

He is not a military guy, but he showed up on time which is nice and he brought a present.

I have never had this wine before, but I did read some reviews this morning. All good.

My kids love when we have company. Even though we have a fair amount of folks over they still get excited every time. E, the question girl spent 6 hours grilling me…

E- Is it a boy or a girl?

Me- Boy

E– How do you know him?

Me- He is a friend of daddy’s.

E- Is he daddy’s boyfriend or just a boy?

I don’t really know what she meant by that, but…

Me- E, just a friend.

E- Is he a boy or a man?

Me- A man.

For the rest of the night my children referred to him as “The Man.” He has a nickname and an actual name which they know, but still they always called him The Man. Even right in front of him they would say. “Is The Man coming to sit down?” “Is The man hungry?” Still working on their social skills, however his previous nickname on the blog has been Tiger. A name I have never really liked, so from this moment on he will be known as The Man.

Truth be told I wasn’t really concerned about feeding him and humiliate might be an overstatement(didn’t happen) as well as my alleged catlike quickness, but the insulted him part is true. Its really more like light hearted banter though. Also, for the record, I never said anything about his mother. No nerves, but still wasn’t sure what to feed him.

I was told that I could make anything that did not include water chestnuts. On the one hand that is nice. Open slate, On the other hand it leaves a lot of options out there. I wasn’t sure how adventurous he was, but I did know he liked food because the the other night at the restaurant we both whipped out our cell phones and instead of sharing pictures of family we showed each other different foods we had made. He had a picture of stuffed portabella mushrooms.

I searched my recipes and decided on Braciole. Unfortunately, my butcher didn’t have the right cut of flank steak, so I improvised. I also wanted to somehow include mushrooms into the meal because The Man likes them. Braciole does not have mushrooms in it, but it’s my kitchen, so again I improvised. The final dish was more like a stuffed flank steak. I made a mixture of chopped mushrooms, parm cheese, fresh herbs and olive oil. Put a slab of flank steak down, put the mushroom mixture on top and placed another piece of flank steak on top of that and refrigerated it for a couple of hours. I then made a basic tomato sauce. I browned both sides of the flank steak, poured the sauce on top and baked for 2 hours. The last few minutes I topped off with a good aged provolone and finally a toss of fresh parsley.

It was very tender and yummy. We also had a simple salad of romaine lettuce, baby red beans, garbanzo beans, diced jack and cheddar cheeses, fried tortilla strips and a home made balsamic Dijon vinaigretteA mix of cherry tomatoes and avocado with a home made ranch dressing. I like homemade ranch because it has a fresher lighter flavor. I do use whole milk buttermilk but the herbs I add are much better than the prepackaged stuff.

Oh and I did set out a tray of shrimp, crackers, white cheddar cheese and a roasted tomatilla sauce/dip.

“A” decided to OC.

I thought it a bit irresponsible for her not to use a holster, but since they were only lego guns, I let it slide.

Getting ready to eat.

It was a very low key night of beer, food, and chit chat. The man shared that he liked California, but would not live there due to their gun laws. Kind of have to like a man that chooses his state of residence based on the gun laws.

Hopefully he enjoyed himself and the food. I did get a hug and he left smiling, so those are good signs

P.S. E just walked by and said, “Hey, that’s a picture of you and The Man”.


As promised

The riveting post…

So we are sitting there waiting for the Monday night preseason football game to start when an older gentleman walks by. I see him out of the corner of my eye, but I don’t turn to look at him until the second time he walks by. The second time something catches my attention. That something was flames.

There are 2 guys and a gal sitting at the table next to ours. I hear one of the guys say, “ummmmmmmm”, so I turn and look at him. He continues, “Did that guy’s wallet just catch on fire?”

By the time I turn back around the man with the flames has moved on. He was wondering around the restaurant opening his wallet and displaying his affection for pyrotechnics. He was either very drunk or a tad bit crazy or maybe both.

An hour or so later he comes by again. This time he is standing fairly close to me on my right side, but he is talking to the guy at the other table. The guy at the table wasn’t sure how to take him because this dude starts opening and closing his wallet again and again, flames shooting out and he is rambling something about one dollar bills and twenties. Dude at table looks to me for help, so I make some comment about how neato that was. At this point it is fairly obvious the guy is more than a tad bit crazy. He is full on whack-a(that’s my kids word). He is harmless except for the flames near all the beer, but you know, basically harmless. The man at the table and I humor the old guy for a while with ideal chit chat and polite smiles. The man was mighty proud of his skills and his ability to keep his wife away from his money. He didn’t speak clearly due to the he was crazy thing, so I missed much of what he said, but he enjoyed the attention. It was worth the 60 seconds of my time. When he left the man at the other table looked at me smiled, I gave him a wink and that was that. The only real issue was I think if the old guy had taken one more step closer to me my husband would have tackled him to the ground. Maybe not tackled, but stood up and encouraged him to move along. For some reason my hubby doesn’t like crazy drunk guys with flames standing that close to me.

Now for my mouth watering Ham Croquettes. If you don’t know, a ham croquette is a ball of ooey gooey deliciousness. I looooooooove them, but they take time to make and are not healthy, so we rarely have them. You saw my nachos, so you know I am not committed to healthy eating 100% of the time, but I like to balance out my glutton with things that will hopefully slow down the effects of the other crap I put into my body. That means from time to time I take unhealthy things and  lighten them up.

My plan was to use lean sandwich type ham instead of hunks of fresh fatty ham, part skim milk mozzarella cheese, herbs and bake them instead of fry. My husband can’t eat anything with gluten in it, so I had to substitute the flour with something he could consume. Non wheat based flour mixtures are very fine and do not do much for holding things together, so I opted for corn meal. It is a little coarser and I hoped would had a nice flavor. I didn’t know how much corn meal it would take to bind everything, so I mixed all the other ingredients first and then little by little added the corn meal.

See those little black specks? Yeah, those are not fennel seeds…those are bugs. That was an almost brand new bag of corn meal and it was crawling with bugs. CRAP was my first thought. My second thought was and it was only for a split second, well,10 seconds, 30 tops…”Can I keep the bugs in and call it survivalist training?”

Since it was the last item added and I didn’t not think my family would appreciate the extra ingredient I tossed the whole thing down the drain. It was now 6:30pm, I had completely lost my appetite and was no longer interested in whipping up anything, so…

I made my husband brots.

My kids frozen fish sticks which are never ever in my house. And I had this.

Kids ate in their PJ’s. They didn’t seem to mind.

Yesterday when I alluded to this post it was pre-the-text from my husband telling me he had invited someone for dinner. That someone is coming tonight. I am hopeful he does not read this blog post, well ever, but at least until after he leaves my house.

Good News/Bad News

The good news is this weekend starts my life back into guns, knives, and combatives. Plus, I get back to work at FPF Training, I start my EMT training and if there is a god, I will be training with Arete again soon. Which means I will have more things to talk about beside what I feed my family and how much I love them.

Bad news is that I am not sure when I will have time to tell you about any of it.

Friday we leave for Ohio. We return on Monday, our kids start school on Tuesday, Wednesday we have our EMT interview with the fire department folks, Thursday night I work, Saturday is the CPR training, and Sunday I have a swim team board meeting. Then Tuesday & Thursday nights our daughter has Field Hockey games. Monday & Wednesday nights we have EMT training and most every weekend I am either working or doing EMT practicals. Not to mention back to school night for the kids, helping them with homework, laundry, running, feed those pesky children, play dates with their friends, planning the Veteran’s Day Luncheon…Fortunately for me, I have a ton of energy, don’t require much sleep and everything I am doing I love, but blogging may take a back seat for a while. I think it will be a lot more of quick little blurbs on FB and maybe Twitter if I can figure it out, but don’t count on that.

In the meantime do you wanna hear about food, family, friends…yes! Ok, good.

Last night my hubby and I met the boys from his office again. It was, as you know, Monday and there was a preseason game on which is a good excuse for a get together. We did not return to the previous establishment as that place is having a wee-bit of legal trouble. As in they were raided a few nights ago. Cops in riot gear stormed the place, corralled the patrons and proceed to search for all manner of things. The guys thought it best not to return. I will say that when I was there, there was nothing and I mean nothing that screamed seedy joint about to have the long arm of the law rain down it’s authority upon it. There were a handful of folks there all quietly chit chatting and having a beer or two. Most people were in business attire and except for me falling over in my chair(had nothing to do with drinking. I scooted my chair back and the leg got caught on a piece of floor board and over I went) absolutely nothing exciting took place. Regardless, the whole avoid stupid people and places seemed to now apply to that establishment. The boys picked a different restaurant in a completely different part of town.

The place they picked is a national chain and I have been told numerous times it is not gun friendly. I have never been there, but a lot of people have told me there is a great big sign that says “NO WEAPONS.” Can’t be missed. In general I try not to spend my money in places that are not respectful of my rights, but I am not militant about it. If other people want to go there, I will go. I care are more about relationships than I do about giving $10 for some wings to some idiot. Having said that, I had 2 knives(not concealed), some mace and my gun(concealed).

In Virginia it is not against the law to carry your gun into a place, even one that is marked no weapons. The worst thing that could happen is if the management discovered I was carrying my gun and they decided they would like me to leave I would need to do so. If for some insane reason I refused the worst they could charge me with is trespassing which is not a weapons charge and would not affect my CCP in the least. I would never refuse to leave, so no issues.

Here is the deal though…Just out of curiosity I looked up there corporate policy and didn’t find anything specific from them about customers and guns in their place of business and at the place of business I was at, there wasn’t a sign, anywhere. And I looked and looked and looked. Nothing. That is not to say that the company isn’t anti-gun, just that I have not personally experienced it.

Not much else happened except that I am exposed to a lot more things when I hang out with boys than when I hang out with women. There is significantly more bathroom talk. I mostly just listen when that comes up. I learned that if you are a man you probably shouldn’t ask someone to watch the door for you when you go to use the bathroom because if you do the other guys will be brutal about making fun of you. And I discovered I know a more about the porn industry then I thought. I am not sure how I get myself into these conversations, but one of the guys, Tiger, said that Chad Johnson could not make as much money doing porn as he could in football. I disagreed. For some reason Tiger and I often find ourselves on the opposite side of most issues(and it should be noted right or wrong, Arete always takes Tigers side). So, Tiger said, Johnson had a 1 million dollars(just straight salary here) contract and there was not a single porn star that made that much even if you include the sale of other things beside just his/her movies. We had a lively discussion about that for a while and then Arete goggled it. Turns out at least one porn star is worth $30 million. Not Payton Manning money, but Chad Johnson ain’t no Manning and 30 million is not a bad chunk of change.

To summarize…even if a place looks respectable it might not be, so maybe have a plan. When other people even those you trust tell you something, maybe check it out for yourself. If you spend any time with a group of men be prepared to hear the phrase “take a shit” a lot and accept that there will at some point be a conversation about hookers and/ or porn. I really need to get back to work.

Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s riveting blog post on how I made a health version of ham croquettes for my brood to enjoy and my short, but captivating conversation with a man who lights his wallet on fire.




Monday, Monday…

I have been insanely wonderfully busy. Nothing noteworthy to speak of really just getting the kids ready for school and my daughter ready for Field hockey. M did not make the volleyball team, but the Field Hockey coach saw M trying-out and begged her to come try out for her team. The coach was might impressed and offered her a spot. Naturally, I have been trying to learn as much as possible about the sport.

Plus, I have reading and studying to get ready for the EMT classes, playing with the kids, trying to get ready for our trip to Ohio, and sneaking in a little preseason football watching.

I have been doing a lot of cooking as well. A mix of very healthy fresh summer meals and some very unhealthy gluttonous ones. This is an arugula, watermelon and yellow cherry tomato, feta salad with an orange vinaigrette.

This is a healthy version of risotto. I made it with wild mushrooms, white & green asparagus and roasted chicken thighs.

100% unhealthy. I had some left over pork shoulder, so I made homemade tortilla chips and covered those with the pork shoulder and 2 kinds of cheese(mozzarella & jack), then sprinkled with purple onion, tomatoes, & avocado. The final touch was taco sauce(not salsa) and Honduran sour cream…seriously to die for. Not only was this not good for our bodies, but we ate them at midnight with beer.

It was a late night anniversary treat. Well it was one of our late night treats. As of today I have been married to the same man for 22 years 2 days. Lucky me. Most of you already know how I feel about him and if you followed my crazy journey for the past 16 months, then you know what a remarkable man he is, so I will skip all the mushy stuff and just say, I am blessed. Very, very blessed.

I am wayyyyy behind on my blog reading, but this morning I had a few minutes to catch up on my favs. Anyone who has had read Brigid’s posts knows they are always brilliant. I rarely comment because saying “This is brilliant” gets old, but I do link her a lot because, well, she is brilliant…

“Actually I’m not, a feminist that is. Not in the sense of the word usually associated with it. I’m not going to burn my bra (except for that one that makes me look like I’m expecting an assassination attempt) and I’m not going to walk dutifully 10 feet behind my husband with my head covered. I’m a contradiction in stereotypes, a modern woman who can shoot, hunt, manage a team of a couple dozen or so ex special forces types, fix most things and survive on my own. But I’m also someone who still wants a strong rugged man to kill that spider, and understand that sometimes I can’t do it all and am going to come home after slaying the dragon, go to my room and cry like a girl. I want someone who can  read that 130 page technical report I wrote, ask me about the thoughts that went into it, then bend me like Gumby and make me forget what day it is”.

Go read the whole thing.

Basic Pistol

I was asked to post this information about an upcoming Basic Pistol class. My disclaimer is that I have never been to this range and I do not know this instructor, but the person asking me to post is a person I trust, so if you are free September 1st and are looking for a ladies only course you here is some information on one being held at the Colonial Shooting Academy.


NRA Basic
Pistol Shooting

This course includes classroom and range time learning to shoot revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Students learn NRA’s rules for safe gun handling; pistol parts and operation; ammunition; shooting fundamentals; range rules; two handed shooting position; cleaning the pistol; and continued opportunities for skill development. Everyone will receive
the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook,NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure, Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification booklet and course completion certificate.

This course fulfills the training requirement for the Concealed Handgun Permit!!

Date: September 1 Time: 9:00-5:00

Class Instructor: Kim Barton

For additional information, please see John
Savage, Director of Training or email
[email protected]

Handgun, ammunition, eye and ear
protection included in the price. Just wear
comfortable clothing and have fun!

Tuition $175.00


Tid Bits

I am still going to Texas and I am still interested in meeting up with bloggers in the area, but the open ended send me an email lets see about getting together became a bit of a logistical nightmare, so I am going to try to set something up to make it easier on everyone. I am talking with a few folks and I will let you know if we are able to work something out.

As is the case pretty much everywhere FPF Training has seen an increase in the number of brand new shooters signing up for John’s shooting courses. As a way to help prepare them for the 2 day courses John has decided to bring back his very popular Handgun 101 course. From the newsletter…

Handgun 101 is back!  These courses will be presented on Thursday night at Sharpshooters in Springfield.  See for details.

Keads who not only has never asked for anything, but also is beyond generous with his time and money is asking for a little something. I am going to repost his entire request here, but please go to his site and leave a comment…

Can You Help?

I have never asked for anything here.  I am making an exception for a friend of mine now.  His name is Tyler and I really don’t want to say that he works for me.  Technically he does, but I prefer to say that we work together.

He is a Deacon in his church, teaches Sunday School, a devoted Husband, Father to two adopted Daughters, and a Grandfather to 1.5 Grand kids. His Family is tightly knit and his Brother and Father live within walking distance from his house.

Our professional relationship can simply be summed up in the fact that the man is extremely talented and works hard to make me look good. On a personal note there is this from my Blog.

He is riding a bicycle to the beach. From here to raise money for MS research.  It is a haul. MS has touched his Family and he is committed to this. Not bad for a 50 year old. He continues to amaze me. His story about his motivation is here. Me, I’m using the Company matching program to double my donation.

If you can, anything you can give would be greatly appreciated. If you can’t, I will send you a picture of Tyler as he is now riding a bike to work. Its not pretty =) !



I like how many folks emailed about my arms. I got a lot of “Nice Guns” and I have to tell you, you all made me smile, big time. My arms are my personal favorite feature. Incidentally, my husband’s calves send me into orbit…love them.

In addition to the nice words, I was asked what I do to stay in shape. My workout routine is pretty much how I live in my life in general…it’s simple.

I have one carry gun and mostly one holster. I pretty much carrying in the same spot on my body and for the most part I practice, practice, practice with that gear only.

Same with knife fighting/hand to hand fighting. I do not attend every different style of martial arts and don’t try to learn every different method. I try to learn a few things that I or whoever I am working with think will work for me and practice those until they are almost second nature.

For fun I will shoot anything, fight anyone and shank whoever is willing(in terms of training or messing around, not actual brawling), but that is more because I love it and want to experience as much as possible, but where I focus my real time and energy is only in a few key places. I know there are some different schools of thought on this. I read an article by Massad Ayoob(not a link to the article) where he discussed the idea that conceal carry people should change up their guns and test themselves and I certainly would not argue with his expertise, but for me, I just want to know for sure that I can work my equipment, be that my gun, my knife or my body. So simple, well rehearsed, not to complicated, solid, time tested skills that I can master is my goal with self defense.

And for fitness, it is exactly the same.

I do very few things to stay in shape. I run. I try to vary that a little…up hill, stairs etc, but mostly I just get out and move. I do push-ups. Again, I might try to do a few different ones to target different muscles, but I am not interested in being huge, so I concentrate on maintaining my strength. Squats and sit ups. Lots of stretching. I own zero equipment except for a set of hand weights and a mat. I used to go to the gym and I did hire a personal trainer once, but neither seem to give me much more bang for my buck, so I stopped both. I do enjoy yoga, but it’s summer and trying to carve out an hour of quite time at my house is impossible, so maybe when the kids get back in school. My kids love to work out with me and often do, but that is rarely a workout for me because I am helping them or it is at such a low intensity that I still need to find time to get in a separate session. I also have done some of the more popular workouts like P90x. I like them and they work well, but again I don’t have time anymore, so a run a few times a week, some squats, push-ups and situps in the morning &/or at night and try to live an active lifestyle is about it. Nothing fancy, extremely simple, but consistent is what has worked for me for the past 10 years.

Speaking of that…I am off for a run.