Are guns an evil necessity?

When I was very young (and by very young I mean under the age of 7 years) my grandfather decided that it would be a good idea to have me use his rifle to try to shoot some glass bottles off of a log. He did not put any kind of ear protection on my head, and did not warn me that there would be any recoil. I probably weighed all of forty pounds, had never been around guns before, and this was a very new experience for me. I remember lying down on my stomach and propping the gun on a log, and aiming the gun. The noise was very loud, and the recoil was very painful. I was scared and hurt. I cried. That was the end of my wanting anything to do with guns.

Rifle (free clip art)

Rifle (free clip art)

Ever since then I have respected the right of individuals to own and enjoy guns, but I have avoided them. There have been so many terrible stories in the news all of my life about the horrible things that have been done with guns. I am a peace-loving person that would prefer to reason with people than to fight with them. As a middle child, I’ve always been a peace-maker, a negotiator, a diplomat. I’m a lover, not a fighter!

I have not wanted to look at, touch, or hear guns. When I was single, and dating guys, if they expressed any interest in guns, I broke up with them! That was a deal-breaker! I did not even want any guns in my house, out of fear of someone getting hurt.

But recent events with a neighbor who has threatened the safety of my family has forced me to reconsider my position. I reluctantly agreed to learn to handle a gun. Just in case I really needed to use one in self-defense. But I did so with great trepidation. What if the recoil hurt my hands, which already hurt so much from that traffic accident that I was in a few years ago? And so my gun-loving friends and relatives have come out in droves to encourage me to learn to shoot.

Browning Buckmark 22 handgun (free clip art)

Browning Buckmark 22 handgun (free clip art)

This week I agreed to “try” one of my stepfather’s guns while I was visiting with my parents at their house. I think that my agreeing to try it shocked us all – I have been very reluctant to have anything to do with guns up until this point. But I decided to “suck it up” and give it a try. I won’t lie about it – I was nervous. Very nervous. I almost wanted to cry when he put the gun in my hand! He gave me a Browning Buckmark 22 pistol to use. He gave me some ear protectors that looked like overgrown ear-muffs, and I put them on. I was surprised that I could still hear his voice a bit after I put them on!

I listened to his instructions, then took a deep breath to calm my nerves and turned towards the target. The target was twenty-five feet away, stapled to a wooden pallet and was actually at a bit of an angle away from me – I could not see it “straight on” so the circles were actually a bit smaller than if I had been able to see it “straight on.” I held the pistol with both hands, propped my elbow against a pole he had implanted in the ground, closed one eye, and aimed at the target. I was very aware of my breathing, and focused on keeping my breathing calm and steady. When I couldn’t “put it off” any longer, I tried to keep my hands steady (which is hard to do when you suffer from “essential tremors”) and very cautiously, slowly, squeezed the trigger. The recoil was a lot less than I expected, (the gun went upwards instead of back into the palm of my hand) and I actually hit the target! Unbelievable! I’ve always been terrible at sports when I had to aim at something – basketball, archery, bowling…. You name it, if I had to “aim” at something, I was horrible! But this shot actually was within the circles of the target! Amazing!

First time with 22 pistol 8-27-14

First time with 22 pistol 8-27-14

I put the gun down and went to inspect the hole for myself – yes, it really was there! I laughed and said “I can’t believe I actually hit the target! Must be beginner’s luck!” Then I proceeded to shoot again. I hit the target again! And again! I experimented with which eye to close, whether to have my left foot or right foot forward. Most of my shots hit within the circles – and quite a few hit within the bulls-eye rings! My step-father encouraged me to shoot 100 rounds, so I kept going. The most difficult part was loading the ammo into the clip – holding the spring-loaded clip open with my thumbs was painful, so I had to figure out a way to load the clips without using my thumbs to hold the clip open. It was awkward, and slow, but I managed.

By the end of the 100 rounds, I was firing the rounds off quickly, and my aim became more reckless, but I was experimenting to see how well I could shoot if I had to shoot several rounds off quickly. For the most part I still hit within the circles, so I was satisfied that this was something I might actually be able to do.

When we finished for the day he said “I think I’ve created a Monster” and I laughed, replying “Now people are going to start calling me Annie Oakley!” I took some pictures of the target, and texted my hubby with the picture. His reply was “Well well, Annie….” And so it begins…..

Today he took me to the range close to where I live, and I managed to get off 90 rounds. I used the same pistol as before. This time the target was only twenty feet away. I think I did better, but I don’t know if that’s because I am getting better, or if it is because the target was closer.

8-29-14 Opal VA 20 ft distance

8-29-14 Opal VA 20 ft distance

Now my hubby, step-father, and mother are all encouraging me to go out and buy a hand gun of my own. I went to Gander Mountain yesterday with my step-father while we were running errands to try to buy some ammo for his guns, and while we were there we consulted with the guys in the firearms department about their recommendation. I have small hands, and some physical concerns.

Bersa Thunder 380 (picture from Wikipedia)

Bersa Thunder 380 (picture from Wikipedia)

They recommended a Bersa Thunder 380. I was shocked to see how expensive guns are! They let me hold one in my hand, and I agreed that it felt “right” in my hand. As if a gun will ever feel “right” in my hand. But it had a good light weight to it, and felt well-balanced. They told me that if I wanted a gun for protection that a 22 caliber was not a good idea. (They said that if a guy was attacking me that the 22 caliber would just “piss him off” but that the 380 caliber would stop him. Since I don’t want to “piss off” an attacker, I guess that a 380 would be a better choice.) The told me that this Bersa Thunder 380 gun has very little recoil, and is very accurate. They explained that this type of gun had a different recoil that would be going back into my body more than upwards, and that should decrease the possibility of hurting my hands. (I’m not sure which type of recoil is actually “better” for me at this point!)

I was concerned about the barrel length because the Bersa barrel is shorter than the barrel of the 22 I was using, and I thought that a shorter barrel would be less accurate. My hubby tells me that the velocity of a 380 will make up for the shorter barrel. I don’t know that much about the logistics of guns, so I’ll have to trust him on that one! I like that the Bersa has an optional laser feature that could be used to increase accuracy. I like that idea a lot! If I’m trying to defend myself, that would be a big benefit!

I’ve been watching some YouTube video reviews about the Bersa Thunder 380, and I haven’t come across any negative information about the gun yet.

I don’t know if I will end up getting one or not. I’d like to try it out before I buy it, and I don’t know if there is anywhere around here that will let me test fire one before committing to the purchase.

Are guns an evil necessity? I hate to think that they are, but maybe they are. That makes me sad.

I’ll have to give this some serious consideration. My money doesn’t grow on trees, and I still am ambivalent about being a gun-owner. But I AM concerned about protecting myself against my crazy neighbor. I’ve already tried to get the police to help, and there really isn’t much they can do until he actually attacks/kills one of us….. what to do, what to do…


Posted in Family and Friends, Fun, Life, Opinion, Product Review, Rants, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

A Peek Into My Grandmother’s Life

Yesterday my mother was visiting with me, and she brought photos and memoirs from her mother’s life to share with me. She left them with me to scan, and share with my other family members that might find them interesting. I have already shared some of them privately with the family members that I feel would be interested, but there is more to be looked at, and considered.

Among the items she left are three very old (circa 1920′s) autograph books. Apparently back then it was the custom for girls to ask friends, neighbors, relatives, to write in their autograph books. They have not been stored in archival circumstances, so they are falling apart. They need to be handled with great delicacy and care. Looking through the books, many of the pages are simply the autograph of someone, an address, and a date. Some autographs, however, included little sayings, or expressed wishes and blessings.

By far one of my favorite ones I have seen is this one that I am sharing with you here today. When I read it, I laughed a good, loud, belly laugh. I quickly decided to share it here, on my blog. Maybe someone else “out there” in the blog-o-sphere will read it someday and enjoy it, too. And I will admit that I probably “represent that remark” to some extent.

(Off topic rant: I find that when I am with other people who I rarely have the opportunity to talk for one complete sentence before someone decides that what they think I am going to say is objectionable, and they interrupt me. I usually don’t get the chance to ever finish my sentence. After a few noble but valiant attempts to clarify what I was trying to say, I give up talking at all. Apparently most of the people don’t care what I think or feel, and don’t want to speak “with” me; they want to speak “to” me.

Because of that situation, some people in my life have no idea at all what I think, feel, or know. That is probably one reason I am a writer and a blogger. At least no one is interrupting me and I can complete a thought somewhere, even if nobody else ever reads it. I know that very few people will ever read what I am writing, and know what it is I’m trying to say, or even care, but maybe someone “out there” might read it and realize that I’m not the total jerk that I have been made out to be by certain people. Of course that might not happen until I’m dead and gone, but maybe it will happen some day. One can hope…)

When I am asked specific questions, I sometimes share “news” that I have heard by listening to people when they talk.

But I digress…. Here is a photo of the page that brought rare laughter to my lips earlier today. I hope it brings a smile to yours as well!

Page from autograph book June 11 1926 Ruth Conroy

Page from autograph book June 11 1926 Ruth Conroy

If you can’t read it (for whatever reason) it says:

“When you tell a man something it goes in one ear and out the other. When you tell a woman something it goes in both ears and out her mouth.” And it is signed Ruth Conroy, dated June 11, 1926 (I think.)


Posted in Blogging and SEO, Family and Friends, Life, Memories, Rants and tagged , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Justice Prevailed Today

Scales of justice (free clip art)

Scales of justice (free clip art)

Unfortunately we have had difficulties with one of our neighbors since almost the day we moved into our house. Difficulties that eventually forced us to put up “No trespassing” signs up around the yard, hire lawyers, and send out letters advising the neighbor that he is not welcome on our property, and to stay off of our property.

The neighbor I am writing about is a scary and dangerous man who has threatened to kill everyone in our family. He has threatened to kill us himself, and he has threatened to take out “hits” on us. He has bragged that his concealed weapon permit gives him permission to kill us if he wants to kill us.

We have gone to the police for help on more than one occasion for these threats, and the magistrate refused to do anything about it each time. The neighbor continues to violate the no trespassing orders, and we have filed trespassing complaints and gone to criminal court twice now over those violations. The first time the judge dismissed the case. This time, even though the neighbor claimed that he has never stepped on our property since we purchased it (He has been on our property a lot and caused much aggravation from his presence on our property, which is why we served him with papers to stay off the property) however, the judge found in our favor, and found the neighbor guilty of trespassing.

The neighbor was fined $400. The judge suspended $200 of it. The neighbor was sentenced to 60 days in jail, all suspended. The judge told both of us to have no contact of any kind with each other, and instructed the neighbor to stay off of our property. He warned the neighbor that if he violates the order to stay off of the property within the next two years, that he will have to pay the rest of the fine, and serve all of the jail time.

Upon arriving home, I called the Culpeper Sheriff’s Office and left a message for the officer that has been helping me with the troubles with our neighbor to please return my call. Within a few minutes, he called me and I filled him in on the verdict. He was very glad to hear that justice prevailed today, and he agreed to increase the neighborhood patrol to help keep us safer from retribution by the neighbor.

Although I am very glad that the judge found our neighbor guilty of trespassing, I have concerns that the animosity and bad feelings will now escalate into something even more ominous, with sinister results.

We already have a security system installed, and we are going to have a better one installed really soon. My hubby is a crack shot with his guns, and has a concealed weapons permit. I’ve resisted going to the gun range to learn to shoot, but maybe now is the time to give in and do it, for my protection. I have concerns that the kick-back (recoil) will hurt my hands and/or shoulder. My hubby insists that he has at least two or three guns I could learn to shoot that won’t hurt me with their recoil.

We have two very vocal, protective dogs to sound the alarm and help protect us. I don’t know, maybe we’ll buy a trained guard dog that will attack on command as well. We will have to wait and see.

If anything bad happens to us, and we all end up dead, please tell the police to look very hard at the neighbor that we are having problems with. Thank you all!


Posted in Community, Family and Friends, Legal, Life, Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , by with comments disabled.

The Aldi’s Adventure

Aldi store (free clip art)

Aldi store (free clip art)

Yesterday my sister took me into Culpeper to run a few errands. The last stop before heading home was to go to the Aldi’s store. I had only been in the store once before, several years ago, when it first opened. I remembered that the general design of the store was like a small warehouse club, and most of the brands were store brand items, which I had never heard of before. I’m always up to trying new brands, but my family is often very reluctant to try new things, so I decided at that time to not shop there.

Recently I have been hearing a lot of good things from a variety of people who are in my circle of Ruritan acquaintances and Facebook friends that they shop at Aldi’s and they love it. So, I decided to take another look when the only thing I really needed to buy in the way of groceries was a gallon of 1% milk. After all, I reasoned, it should be difficult to ruin a gallon of 1% milk!

So, off to Aldi’s as the last stop before heading home, to check it out in general, and to buy a gallon of 1% milk, to be specific.

I remembered that it cost a quarter to get a shopping cart, and I had a quarter with me, ready to go. What I had not remembered, however, was the procedure as to how to use the quarter to get the cart! There was no signage outside that we could see that gave instructions on how to use the quarter to obtain the cart, just a sign telling you spending a quarter to get the cart saves you dollars in the store.

how a quarter saves you dollars

How a quarter saves you dollars

So I approached the carts with trepidation and looked them over. On the handle of the cart, there is a little coin box to insert the quarter, and a chain that is attached to the back of that box. That chain attached that cart to the other carts stored in front of it. Seems simple enough, right? I surmised that if I inserted the quarter into the box, the chain will fall out, and I can pull out the cart and do my shopping. I expected the quarter to go all the way into the box, but it did not. The quarter only went half-way in and stopped. The chain did not fall out! What the heck?!

stuck quarter

stuck quarter

Now, I reasoned, that I have somehow got a faulty cart, and the smart thing to do was to remove that quarter from the box and insert it into the box of a different cart. Sounds simple enough, but that quarter was stuck. It would not go in any further, and would not come out! And that darn chain was still attached to the back of the cart!

So I tried to wiggle that quarter, to coax it to come out of that coin box, but it was firmly stuck. I looked at my sister, and told her “the quarter is stuck, and won’t come out!” Just then a gentleman approached, and he saw that I was struggling to remove the quarter. He asked me “are you trying to get it out?” I told him “yes.” He said “No worries, here’s a quarter.” He placed a quarter in my hand, then he simply gave the cable in the back of the coin box a tug. The cable pulled out, the cart was freed, and the man whisked that cart into the store!

My sister and I started to laugh! What had just happened? “Our” chosen cart was getting away! Granted, the man had given me a quarter, but I had struggled to get that cart, and it was heading into the store without me! Too funny!

Now that I had seen someone actually perform the required steps to obtain a cart, I took the quarter that the polite man had given me, inserted it into the coin box of a different cart, tugged the chain out of the back, and we headed into the store, still laughing. The man who had given me the quarter and taken my originally intended cart heard us laughing and turned around to see what was going on. His eyes got really big when he realized what had happened, and he exclaimed that he was so sorry – he thought that I was trying to get my quarter back because we were finished shopping! He hadn’t realized that I was trying to get the cart to start our shopping!

We laughed again, and I told him it was no big deal – I told him that it was my first time shopping there and had no idea how to get the carts. He explained he had been shopping there for years, but that it obviously didn’t make him any smarter! We all had a good laugh over that!

After all was said and done, we went about shopping, and comparison pricing. I could see that their prices seemed a bit lower than the other stores, but when it comes to comparing store brand prices to store brand prices, they were about on par with the other stores. Maybe a bit lower. Maybe.

gallon of milk (free clip art)

gallon of milk (free clip art)

I was hoping to buy 1% milk, but was surprised and disappointed to find that they don’t sell 1% milk! (Now remember, the only item I knew I wanted to get was a gallon of 1% milk!) So I purchased 2% milk instead. I also decided to buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, a couple of boxes of chicken broth, and some ground beef. I felt that the prices on those items were pretty good. Their prices on Greek yogurt was good, too, but they only had strawberry flavor in stock, which gives me heartburn, so I didn’t buy it. Their signage claimed they also had blueberry, which I would have purchased, but they were out of stock.

I was hoping to find some refrigerated, prepared, mashed potatoes (like Bob Evans) but the store manager told me that they don’t sell anything like that. That was a disappointment.

For the most part, they seemed to have most of the items I would need from a normal grocery store shopping trip, if I were happy with the taste of the store brand. We did try their All Natural meat flavored spaghetti sauce last night, and I will admit that it tasted better than the other store brands of similar type. I would buy and eat that again.

reduce reuse recycle poster (free clip art)

reduce reuse recycle poster (free clip art)

I knew that I had to provide my own bags, and that I would have to bag my own items, so I was prepared for that. Not a problem, I always try to keep an insulated shopping bag, and reusable canvas shopping bags in the trunk of the car. I try to reduce the amount of plastic shopping bags coming into the household – they are a nuisance and a pain in the neck to try to recycle properly since many local stores have stopped taking them back for recycling. I’m an advocate for reduce, re-use, and recycle. (Yes, I’m a tree-hugger!)

In a nutshell, I think I’d go there again if my family would agree to try their store brands. But it would not be a “one-stop shopping trip” which makes it less convenient, so we will have to just wait and see. Having to drive the extra distance, and stand in a cashier’s line at a second store on shopping day may not actually save me any money in the long run.


Posted in Family and Friends, Food, Life, Opinion, Rants, Ruritan, Shopping and tagged , , by with comments disabled.

Red Hatter Club Crafting with Wine Corks

Today I attended my Red Hatter Club’s monthly meeting at our “Queen’s” house. We were crafting with wine bottle corks, and I was the “leader” of the craft. Essentially that meant that I was the “main” person responsible for helping everyone understand the directions for the craft. Luckily through a group effort we had accumulated most of the supplies over the past several months, and little money was spent.

Since I’m not supposed to drive, out “Queen” came over to my house and picked me up to take me to her house. We got there several minutes before the rest of the ladies arrived, and I had time to figure out the directions for the craft before most of the people arrived. There were a couple of early birds, and they helped me to figure out the directions, and helped to pre-cut and pre-tie some of the ribbons and bows, which made things go a lot smoother.

One of the ladies brought a dessert to share called “Lemon Lush” that she got from a cookbook called “East Dessert First.” The dessert was essentially a lemon pudding with a topping that was made with cream cheese and Cool-Whip. Another lady brought in a pistachio flavored cake that was sprinkled with confectioners sugar in place of frosting. Both were delicious! We all had the chance to make several ornaments, we helped each other out from time to time, and we had a good time catching up with each other’s lives. I always have fun when we get together! After it was all over, we helped clean up, and the “Queen” drove me back home again. Next month we hope to go to the movies together, but we don’t know yet what movies will be playing. Hope we go to a comedy! I can always use a good laugh to lift my spirits!

Here are some photos of the ornaments that were made during the club meeting! Aren’t they just adorable!?


Posted in Crafts, DIY projects, Family and Friends, Food, Fun, Life and tagged , , , , , by with comments disabled.
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