Where did it go?

Today, on the way home from an appointment in Washington DC, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and drive past some of the homes I lived in as a kid. We drove past the house where my father and step-mother lived for a long time, on Ross Drive, in Vienna VA. Imagine my surprise when this is what I saw where the house from my teen-aged years were spent!

113 Ross Dr Vienna VA 11-18-14

113 Ross Dr SW Vienna VA 11-18-14

The cozy ranch of my memories is being replaced by a McMansion! The listing for the new house for sale can be found here.

So much for a photograph of me standing in front of the place I remember spending my junior and senior years in high school!


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First Aid in the Home

First Aid at home

First Aid at home

Why did the blonde move house?

Because she heard that most accidents happen within three miles of your house.

Sadly, it’s true – most personal accidents do happen within three miles of your own home, if not inside the walls themselves. Please excuse the blonde joke.

Our homes are where we spend the majority of our time, so it seems only logical that’s where the accidents and incidents happen – are you prepared if something happens to you, or your loved ones?

If you aren’t, something happens and you’re in need of a second opinion on a case you’ve found yourself in – try the people over at SOS Claims, it’s their job to reassure you and set your mind at ease.

To keep you safest in your home, it’s best to have a basic knowledge of first aid and medical know-how.

Pills, pills, pills.

If you keep paracetamol, ibuprofen or any other pills in your house make sure that you keep them out of sunlight and away from any perishables. Also – keep them in the blister-pack until you need them – the air reacts with the outside and this can make them ineffective and dangerous, depending on their shelf-life.

Medicine Cabinet.

I’m not suggesting you go out and rack up a million Boots points on stocking up your medicine cabinet, but I would suggest keeping the basics stocked up. Make it personal; if you’re an avid baker or general chef – make sure you’ve got a burns kit, if you’ve got children – keep children’s aspirin or Calpol handy.

Cuts, Scrapes, Slashes.

Cutting yourself is one of the most common accidents within the home. If you have cut yourself badly; apply pressure with anything that’s clean and absorbent. Raise, if you can, the limb above your heart – if this means sitting down and putting your legs up then do it. Use your judgement, if you’ve ever been cut this badly before, think about what you need – if not, analyse the situation and ask someone for help. If needed they can drive you to a hospital for stitches. In terms of cuts, I would say it’s better to be safe than sorry – go to the hospital and have them take a look at it for you, it’ll be their call if stitches/glue or further repairs are needed.

Head Injuries.

I feel we are all reasonably good at assessing our own head injuries particularly well. Only you will know how hard you hit your head, if you’ve hit your head like that before and how much it hurts. If you are worried – sit down, have a glass of water. If needs be, work through this handy easy-to-remember guide. (The 5 S’s)

  • Sleep
  • If you feel faint or like you’re losing consciousness – call someone, or ask someone to call you an ambulance.

  • Seizures

If you’re suffering from seizures an ambulance is non-negotiable.

  • Speaking

If you’re having trouble speaking, try and calm down. Breathe and try again. If this doesn’t seem to help, call help.

  • Senses

If your vision is blurred, speech slurred or you experience loss of hearing, call help.

  • Sick

Vomiting is a common sign of concussion, but don’t panic. Just call for help.


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How to Communicate With an Uncommunicative Ex About Your Kids

ignoring (free clip art)

ignoring (free clip art)

Discussing your child with your ex is important for you both as parents. It’s very important that you keep an open line of communication and don’t withhold information from one another that relates to your child. After all, even if you’re not still together, co-parenting is better for your child.

Unfortunately, though, you may find yourself in a situation where your ex doesn’t want to communicate with you. This can be problematic, especially when it comes to your child. If you have an uncommunicative ex, here are a few things you can do to start communicating effectively.

Use a mediator.

mediator (free clip art)

mediator (free clip art)

It’s possible that your ex can’t put aside his or her feelings in order to communicate with you. If this is true, it may be in your best interest to hire a mediator to resolve your communication issues. In these instances, a mediator is a neutral third-party that can help you and your ex communicate your feelings and create solutions that best meet your specific needs.

Create a custody agreement.

divorce meme (free clip art)

divorce meme (free clip art)

If you do not currently have a custody agreement, you should consider creating one. A custody agreement determines the guidelines and regulations you and your ex must follow as it pertains to your child. For example, your agreement will specify which parent has custody of the child at which times, a holiday schedule, and even a way for you to communicate any information relating to your child. This is something you can set up on your own and file with the court, or you can use a mediator or divorce attorney.

Create a paper trail.

paper trail (free clip art)

paper trail (free clip art)

If your ex does not want to communicate with you, you can at least create a paper trail. For example, use text messages or emails as a way to communicate with your ex. If your child receives information from school or the doctor, create copies and give them to your ex. If your ex still does not communicate with you after these attempts, you can use your paper trail proof to propose an amendment to your custody agreement. National Family Solutions reviews these types of cases and can provide direction to the appropriate resources.

List both of you on important documents.

important documents (free clip art)

important documents (free clip art)

When it comes to your child, both parents need to be advised on his or her well-being. For example, if your child’s school uses email to communicate with parents, make sure that both you and your ex have signed up to receive the emails. This way, when it comes to school matters, you don’t have to be responsible for informing your ex about school events or your child’s grades.

Use a neutral third-party.

It may be possible that your ex doesn’t want to communicate specifically with you, but would have no problem talking to someone else. If this is the case, try using a neutral third-party to deliver messages between the two of you. You can opt to pay someone, such as a mediator, or you can use a neutral friend or family member. Just be sure you choose someone who is completely neutral and who, like you and your ex, have your child’s best interests in mind.


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Tip of the hat to Yosemite Sam

One of my dear sisters and I had a good chat yesterday. She told me something I hadn’t known about her before – she loves Yosemite Sam! I knew she loved Popeye, had no idea about Yosemite Sam! I guess it really is possible to love two men at once!

I mentioned that it had been a very long time since I had seen any Yosemite Sam clips, and that I might not even recognize his voice if I heard it! How embarrassing is that? We grew up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, and Yosemite Sam was frequently the featured nemesis of the clip! So, in the spirit of refreshing my memory, and paying homage to our childhood, I have looked him up on YouTube and found lots of entries with Yosemite Sam. Most of the ones I saw were poor quality, very grainy, and involved Sam getting the short end of the stick with his encounters with Bugs Bunny. Actually made me feel sorry for the poor guy!

I eventually found this video, which I felt was a better quality and allowed the viewer to see Sam in a better setting, where he is just being Sam, without that bothersome rabbit getting the best of him! I decided to include this post and video on my blog, as a tribute to the quirky little guy, and an affectionate nod to my family! I hope you enjoy it!


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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…


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