Shootout at the Ware Groupon Lesson

I promised you the full story of my very first shooting lesson, which hubby dear was very excited about. As previously mentioned, he grew up on a very large cattle ranch in South Dakota, where guns, shooting, and generally keeping “critters” in categories of pests, profit-makers, pets, and wildlife are just a part of life. 

 “Popping” prairie dogs, as they call ridding the ranch of these pests, is not considered to be cruel. In fact, not “popping” prairie dogs and letting those sweet cows break their legs in the holes left by the pests, would be considered cruel.  

I might want to add here my disclaimer, that this is a perspective of a city girl who has only visited the ranch a dozen plus times, and the opinions expressed here have not been approved by the ranch owners or their relatives, or their South Dakota, non-city-people neighbors. I heard a nasty rumor that the ranch folks think I actually hate the ranch, being a city girl and all, which is absolutely untrue. I love the ranch. I just need to learn how to do ranch life, which no one seems to think I am ready for.

That said, I found it somewhat amusing that when hubby dear, who loves guns, “popping” prairie dogs, hunting, and eating deer, bear, pheasant, and the like, discovered that he had sired a daughter who would say things like, “Aw, look at that poor (whatever the present roadkill was) creature. Can’t we take her to the vet to maybe save her?” hubby would look at me and wonder how in the world to answer such a strange question.

Her compassion for animals has since shifted a bit, mostly to cats, and she loves the ranch, and has learned to enjoy shooting–so her father is proud.

But, I have steered clear of the gun thing for our 33 years together, until I received a Groupon for a shooting lesson. 

This seemed to be a sign, and I decided it was time, in light of all the fuss over second amendments and rights and such, to at least pick up a gun, figure out how to hold it, and maybe take a shot or too.   

Arriving at the Ware Gun Shop, the outside was extremely different than I had imagined. This was a little house-like place, very rural, and not at all looking like a school for shooting lessons. Not that I really know what that would look like. Of course, we ventured in, Groupon in hand.

The owner, Mike, refused to introduce himself, or confirm that I had talked to him on the phone, and seemed to want to hurry us out of the main retail area, if you want to call it that (the place didn’t have a shiny, clean appearance).

I was fine with being escorted down the stairs to the basement area where there was a lot of open space with targets all around.  

But when Mike began to do his lesson thing, I found him rather fascinating in a grumpy kind of way. He started with a casual interview on why we wanted to have a lesson. Of course I told him I hate guns, but sweetie loves ‘em and I was doing my wifely duty learning a little. I pointed out that my cowboy husband probably didn’t need a lesson but was there to support me. Mike look dubious.

Next was the laser gun with the red dot thingy, that as he was about to hand to me, I asked, “Um, have you germicided that?” He didn’t answer, and you could feel the humorless countenance beginning to boil behind the eyes. “I mean, how many people have touched that?” I clarified.

Mike looked at Jay and said, “Is she serious?” Jay of course smiled and explained I was sort of “pulling his chain.”

Later Jay, also a pretty non-sarcastic sense of humor guy, tried to explain to me the irony of asking about germs while holding a lethal weapon, to which I, of course, replied, “That’s why it’s funny.” I guess not to everyone.

In any case, Mike had threatened to return our Groupon investment and tell us to leave if I proceeded with any more questions like that. I think he had real people coming in after our lesson, and there would be no more silly questions to waste his time.

Just so you know, when I get anxious, which happens when holding a gun for the first time, I get funny (or try to be). Since this was lost on Mike, and somewhat on Jay, I figured since I had no audience, I would shape up. I was, after all, here to do something sweet for hub.

I used the practice laser gun and didn’t feel a whole lot more confident, but cowgirled on.

When it came time to move on to the big guns–well in my case a .22 or something like that, I started getting serious, especially when Mike began to lecture us on muscle memory, and the three important areas to train.That reminded me of Jack Reacher, and having read the first four books, this lesson began to take on some challenge for me. Jack won’t even shoot until he gets his heartbeat under control. I thought I would try that, if I could remember to while training my muscles to shoot.

I am, as you regular readers know, extremely audio and Mike is such a clear teacher that the input into my audio file was really very thorough. 

So, my first ever attempt to shoot a real gun resulted in the cluster you see here. I think both Mike and Jay nearly fell over that this nutty city girl, obviously nervous, scared and worried about germs, actually did quite well. 

 Jay was ecstatic to a point where even annihilating his virtual rat wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing his wife take seriously the thing he enjoys the most–except for motorcycles.

I was a bit proud of the old gal myself.

Mike seemed somewhat tamed after that, and after realizing we shared the same eye problem–only seeing out of one eye at a time–he told me that on another occasion he would show me how to compensate so I would move slightly to the right and cluster right in that target area. I think that was a compliment. And did I detect an open invitation in that “next time” comment?

I read the Google reviews for Mike and his gun shop and most people found him rude, not customer-oriented, and not even in favor of the second amendment (which I doubt). My guess is that he just doesn’t prefer to converse with the public. Not sure why he is in business, but the bottom line for me is that his teaching style was perfect for my learning style, and I learned what I had come to learn. And I did well–especially in the eyes of the one for whom I was there picking up my first .22.

Jane Jetson has come to life

After the initial euphoria of using a video phone on my computer, and now Skype, the reality of what this entails has begun to set in.  Unknown-1

Yes, I can call my grandchildren–which I still haven’t done. And, I can call clients, without the complication and expense of air travel, and yes, there is always the real advantage of free calls to Europe, Canada, and the U.S. among fellow Skypers.  Unknown

But, the actual usage of Skype comes with it the realization that: they can SEE me.

 Now that kind of crashes through the whole working at home in your lounging garb advantage, doesn’t it!  

I mean, there is a reason why Jane Jetson donned her mask for video calls prior to her donning her full face make-up. (This isn’t something I thought of. A friend pointed it out.) 

I don’t wear make-up at home. And, I usually don’t attire myself as though ready for public eye. Jane Jetson at least seemed fully clothed in all of the cartoons I remember. But that was the ‘60s, and the early ‘60s at that. (It re-aired in the ‘80s)   Unknown-2

So I have to get used to the idea that using my video phone means: getting dressed, putting on make-up, caring about how my hair looks, and checking the mirror, if not the camera to see what the final appearance will be. And, that is when I am “making” the call. I haven’t even addressed the horror of having to “answer” a video call I wasn’t expecting. That would mean being “ready” all the time!! 

That is a LOT of trouble to talk someone for ten minutes or less. Almost as much trouble as flying to Chicago from Hartford. Okay, Okay. Maybe a slight exaggeration. But, it is almost as stressful, for me.

I see the Jane Jetson video phone mask as the next great marketing idea. I know I will regret telling you this, because the enterprising among you will rush right out and start the assembly line. I mean, it should at least be as popular as the Pet Rock. Right? And, that made that marketing genius a millionaire. And, I don’t think we need any environmental permits or special regulatory compliance forms, so a few patterns, the right materials, and we should have the next cottage industry–hopefully here in the good old U.S. of A. Any partners out there who want to share this?

I am sure I will adjust to the idea that on certain days and times, I do have to get ready to talk via Skype. Maybe I can make phone calls on the days I am ready to go shopping, which isn’t most days. I keep wondering why my daughter can go through six lipsticks a year and I am still using ones that are ten years old. (I know, I’m going to get bacterial infections!) Now I realize that she uses hers daily, and I only about two times a week. That shouldn’t add up to ten years of life for the little sticks of goo, but they really do last a long time. And that translates also to lipstick removers, cleansing cremes, toners, moisturizers, etc. lasting a long, long time.
Am I giving you T.M.I. here?

Really, combined with my intention to exercise and get healthy, this new thought of being “ready” for a video call may become a plus. No more sitting at the computer, blinds closed, succumbing to the inertia of doing only what is necessary. Because when  you’re dressed, made up and presentable, you think differently. You’re less dour. That is a good thing.

Come to think of it, Skype may just change my life. Who knows? I may end up getting dressed and putting on make up more days than just going out ones. June Cleaver comes to mind. I had an aunt like that. Aunt Hilda was dressed, with modest make up, and had on her high heels every single day. 

 

So, if I do this it may mean being ready for a call any time, any day, any hour. I will become like my favorite Aunt Hilda.  

I will have to think about this. It may mean my life will take on a readiness I do not presently enjoy. It may mean my mind will engage more often than it does. It may mean a longer life. It may mean things I can’t even think of.

I am dying to know what you think!

Loft Life: The ugly truth about soft drinks

In ongoing commitment to preserving the life and health of children, I must make a protest about an ugly truth that prevails in America—I don’t know enough about other countries to comment about them.  Unknown

We talk so much about choices, especially encouraging parents and children to make them healthful choices. We talk about obesity, and its growing peril to our nation, our budgets and ourselves. And. We have connected the dots on how choosing daily consumption of soft drinks adds calories at a level that simply skipping them could dramatically change the statistics on weight gain. We even have school changing their vending machine options to encourage better beverage choices, i.e. fruit drinks and water vs. soft drinks.

But, with all of these facts being true, I continue to be amazed at the number of venues where soft drinks are the only beverage being offered to children. I have observed this at picnics, church suppers, sporting events and family gatherings—and now hotel social hours.

Tell me why, when we offer adults alcohol and soft drinks as their two beverage choices, we cannot find a way to serve milk or apple juice, or even water to the children? For that matter, why wouldn’t that be an option for the adults also?

We seem to have become a nation who considers soft drinks a beverage Really it is not. Yes. They are drinkable. But, do we really want to classify a zero nutrition liquid a beverage in the same category as milk, juice, and water (which by the way does have minerals and health benefits), especially when we are talking about growing children? And, do we really want to send the message to children that this is an acceptable part of eating a daily meal? And, do we really want to have growing children become synonymous with increasingly obese children?

And, beyond obesity soda pop has a pathway you might want to consider before handing a can of the bubbly to your kids. John Tesh’s website reports the research on this:

In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. That’s 100% of your recommended daily intake. And the only reason you don’t vomit from the sweetness is because the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor – so you’re able to keep it down.

After 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver reacts to this by turning any sugar it can grab into fat. And at this particular moment – there’s a LOT of sugar in your system.

After 40 minutes: All caffeine is absorbed. Your pupils dilate, blood pressure rises and your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. 
The “adenosine” receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing you from getting drowsy. You also start producing more dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works.

And 60 minutes after you drink a soda: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc that was on its way to your bones – to your lower intestine instead. You also have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom, so you end up flushing all of those nutrients OUT of your body, as well as sodium, electrolytes and water. Then as your body quiets down, a sugar crash kicks in – causing you to feel irritable and sluggish. Not to mention you’ve emptied your system of the nutrients it needs to hydrate itself, and build strong bones and teeth. And all this’ll be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours.

So, John and I ask you: Is drinking soda worth all that!

Okay, maybe a cola at a special occasion. Maybe one at a baseball game. Maybe at a picnic, now and then. But, really, I implore you, let’s get good stuff into our kids for the daily fare. Let’s not make a treat into a daily beverage. Let’s all think about our choices—especially beverages at meals.

Loft Life – Taking pHun to a new level

You all know I am into green smoothies, organics, antioxidants and the like. But when I began reading about how to do the  pH thing, I was overwhelmed. Learning all about the balance of alkaline and acid for the body  seemed foreign to think about.    51doKJVk1vL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

I dabbled with the idea, but really had no idea what to actually eat. The whole idea of it reminded me of the chemicals we used to clean our swimming pool (when we lived in California).

But, I began to do more than dabble when my “California girl” daughter texted me a picture of her sore throat, gross as it was, and told me she thought she was getting strep. Rather than rush to the urgent care center, she decided to completely change her food for a couple of days to alkaline foods. The throat redness left, her fever left, and she was well in three days. Wow!  This got my attention, big time.

So when I started to feel some flu-like symptoms, I did the same thing and it all went away. Health.

I read up on what foods are alkaline. I started making sure my daily 8 to 10 glasses of water all had a squeeze of lemon. My daughter was buying alkaline bottled waters and was concerned with the expense. I told her to go to Costco for a bag of lemons, and make her own. Much cheaper, tasty and easy to do. You can get 8 wedges from one large lemon, which does the daily dosage for both alkaline food and water. I mean, really. If drinking lemon water can give me a flu-free season, why wouldn’t I do this.  Unknown

The research tells me that, although lemons and other citrus are acidic, they become alkaline when ingested.

On the other hand, animal protein becomes acidic to the body, So, next I cut down dramatically on how much animal protein I consume.

Greens, ala green smoothies, are also alkaline.

I have to say, that barring having all the overwhelming reading to do, these three simple steps–lemon water, less animal protein, more greens–have gotten me through flu season with no symptoms of flu and a really robust health, even with our extreme winter.

The pH people claim that it is the acidic diet that most Americans eat that increases inflammation in the body and they say inflammation is what leads to disease–and not just flu, but disease like cancer and other gnarly stuff. The toxins and waste that accumulate in our bodies because of our high-acid producing diets are also the culprits in decreasing energy and even speeding up the effects of aging.

Getting myself to learn how to maintain the ideal pH of 7.4 is more of a challenge, since it requires me to learn way more. But, the benefits claimed seem to warrant at least considering doing this.

If it is this simple, why not try it? It is easier and cheaper than medication, and has the benefit of not only warding off disease, but creating health. Rather than a cure, why not go for the preventive?

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The answer for why most of us don’t attempt this seems to be tied to the whole idea of the modern American eater. I am sure our grandparents weren’t dealing with the problem of trusting food companies and restaurants, because they didn’t eat packaged foods and seldom went “out” to eat. They didn’t have the soft drinks daily, if at all, and they weren’t eating snacks we think of as normal (donuts, candy bars, giant sugary drinks). They had gardens, they canned veggies and fruits for winter. So when this seems like going to a lot of trouble to eat more like they did, it is true. It is a lot of trouble changing over to the former ways. But, did they have the health problems we think of as normal? Were they generally obese?

I am still in process on this, still reading, thinking, changing my diet. But, I will now hunker down and really read the book that claims miracle powers of a balanced pH eating plan, and I will begin to make permanent changes where it just makes sense to do so.

Let me know what you think about this, please.