Tuesday, May 31, 2011

You make the diagnosis

Sweet Daughter and I did our annual strawberry picking trip yesterday, and it was HOT. We got home in the early afternoon and Shorter Half was getting ready to go troubleshoot why the riding mower wasn’t working. After cooling off a bit, SD asked if she could go play in the wading pool, so I went outside to fill it up. I noticed the lawnmower battery plugged in to the battery charger just outside the door, but didn’t see SH. I walked around behind the house and saw him flat on his back. This, I believe, is what they call a “clue” that something might be amiss as was the fact that he was in the grass, in the sun, was sweating profusely, and had his left forearm in the air with the hand curled up like a claw and didn’t answer the first couple of times I called his name. Near as we can tell, he was sitting down in the shade, stood up too quickly, started walking, got dizzy and passed out, and fell on his hand.

SH was convinced it was just soft tissue damage, but I called our Friend-the-Paramedic who advised us to head into town to the urgent care center. In under 5 minutes, Sweet Daughter threw together a “go bag” that consisted of a paper box lid, 5 stuffed animals, two packages of cheese crackers, a bottle of water, and two other small toys. She did a great job -- those toys (and snacks) kept her busy for the first two hours of our wait. The last hour was spent with us girls outside and SD using the box lid like a sled to slide down a small hill.

During those 3 hours SH got x-rayed, splinted, and other assorted tests run. Now he has to go make an appointment with a specialist to get it set properly. The question is, is his hand broken in 2 or 3 places?

Click for a better view.

Monday, May 30, 2011

In memoriam: Joseph G. Kriss

Joseph G. Kriss: June 1, 1916 – May 16, 2011

Joseph Gibb Kriss, 94, of Byron, MN, died Monday, May 16, 2011, in Rochester, MN.

Joseph Kriss was born June 1, 1916, in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was raised and educated. After attending Carnegie Tech, Joe worked as an engineer at KQV radio station in Pittsburgh.

In 1942, after Pearl Harbor, Joe joined the Army Air Force and was stationed in Big Springs and Midland, Texas, where he trained bombardiers. In April 1944, he went overseas with the 8th Air Force at Deopham Green, England. As a B-17 bombardier, he flew 30 missions over Germany; 15 missions as lead bombardier. He was awarded the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, for exceptional bombing ability over Berlin, Germany. In the spring of 1945, Captain Kriss returned to Eglin Field, FL, where he was later discharged.

He was a member of the Mighty 8th Air Force Historical Society, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society and the 8th Air Force 452nd Bomb Group.

After WWII he returned to his job at KQV. In July 1946, he went to work in Washington, DC, for WRC television. In those early days of television, he worked several different jobs from cameraman to video engineer. He also spent time at the White House and met Presidents Truman through Carter.

In 1947, he married Barbara Alexander, and they raised their four children. After 33 years with NBC, they retired to Rochester, MN, where Barbara passed away in 1984.

In 1985 he married Elaine Wangen. They traveled from coast to coast visiting their children and attending his 8th Air Force Bomb Group reunions. They moved to Byron, where they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last year.

He is survived by his wife; son, three daughters, his three “bonus children”, 10 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and his dear cousin.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A drink in need of a name

Lemon Balm on the left,
Bergamot on the right.
Being a rum drinker, but never having had a Mojito, I decided that needed to be remedied. So, I went out looking for recipes. I found that Mojitos require light rum. Michael W. has introduced me to Black Strap Rum, and I now find light rum to be an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. And I didn't think that dark rum and mint would go together too well. So, what do do about that Mojito? Why, substitute ingredients, of course!

For a Mojito, one generally muddles together mint leaves, sugar or simple syrup and lime juice. Then you add light rum, club soda and ice.

I substituted lemon balm or bergamot (yes, like in Earl Grey tea) leaves for the mint, used a simple syrup made with raw sugar and kept the lime juice. Then I added dark rum, tonic and ice.

It's looks like something that came out of the bottom of a cypress swamp, but oooh, it's lovely. The lime juice and quinine in the tonic keep it refreshing, and the bergamot or lemon balm add another nice citrusy layer. Now I just need a name for it. "Swamp Water" misses the mark entirely. Michael W. suggested "Cypress Cooler" or "Noise Suppressor". "Noise Suppressor?", you ask. Two of these and the noise of every day life just sort of fades into the background.

What should I name it?
UPDATED to add: A naming contest!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Open Carry Day

I was congratulating Breda last weekend on her open carry experience and said “Hey! We should have an open carry day and see how many people we can get to do it!” And so we touched base with Mike W., who has been OCing for a while, now. And I know there are a lot of others out there that just do it and don’t blog about it, because it’s just not a big deal once you get over that feeling that everyone is staring at you like they did in high school when you had that giant Cyclops zit on your forehead that popped up after your Algebra class and nobody told you about it. (Don’t tell me I was the only one. We didn’t have Pro-Active back in the old days.)

ANYHOW. June 5th (the first Sunday in June) has hereby been declared the first annual Open Carry Day for those that can do it. That's it. Just wear a gun, and go about your normal daily routine. The sight of regular people wearing a gun shouldn't be a big deal, and who better to normalize it than reasonably normal people? Report back with what happens. I’m hoping there will be a lot observations that “Person goes about their normal day with a gun and nothing happened!” It will turn into a non-event, which is exactly what open carrying should be.

Monday, May 23, 2011

R. Lee Ermey is a darn nice guy

While at the 2011 NRA Convention in Pittsburgh, Sweet Daughter wanted nothing more than to stand in line to see “Gunny” again. We stood in line for 2 hours last year, and he clearly made quite an impression on her. That, and Glock has the most cushioned floor I’ve ever stood on, so I was okay with that part of the program. Saturday morning the line looked fairly short, and so like some Cold War-era Soviets, we hopped in line without even knowing the details. It turns out the line was short because it wasn’t moving. And it wasn’t moving because R. Lee wasn’t shaking hands at that point. No matter. We talked to some nice people for about a half hour and then had to step out of line to go watch the anti-gun demonstrators. They didn’t show, so we got back in line to see R. Lee. And one of those very nice, well-meaning retired law-enforcement types who was behind us in line proceeded to tell me everything he thought I should know about handguns and shooting.

Him: “You know what the best carry gun for a woman is?”

Me: “The one I’m most comfortable with and will carry.” (And you thought I was going to say a .38 snubbie, didn’t you?)

Him: “The one you’ll carry. The .22 on your hip is better than the .45 in your bedroom.”

Him: “You know, you hafta practice with your holster. You gotta practice drawing and firing from your holster. You gotta train like you fight.”

And on. And on. Ad infinitum, ad nauseum. I swear I was familiar with every cliché he uttered to the point I was finishing his sentences. He meant well, and he was a Viet Nam Veteran, so I was as polite as possible. But when I got the call that the antis showed up, SD and I lost no time in beating feet back outside for the demonstration.

Afterwards we got back in line for the third time and waited our turn. It was worth it. R. Lee says he remembered SD from last year. Now, I don’t imagine there are that many 6’ tall middle-aged moms with little girls that wait in line to see him so it was probably true, but SD was impressed. And he autographed a picture for her and her stuffed animal. AND gave her a challenge coin. Then he signed another picture for me because I told him my boss’s boss was a retired Marine, and it gave me a little street cred to have his autograph on my wall when he stopped by. And so R. Lee insisted on sending another autographed picture for the Big Boss.

“What’s his name?” R. Lee asked.

“Um, Mr. Lastname”, I said. “I don’t think he has a first name. I’ve never heard anyone use it.”

And R. Lee Ermy autographed one for “Mr. Lastname”. And when I gave it to the Big Boss, he smiled, and said he’d have it framed and put it on his office wall. I’d never seen him smile before, or say that many words to me in a row. R. Lee is magic.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Say what?

Sweet Daughter and I attended a picnic at the local park last night put on by the local grass-roots, non-politically affiliated organization. I'd heard that being pro-2A, several members had their CHPs, so, I decided to O/C. I was the only there who was armed.

Now, I was out on the playground with SD helping her with the monkey bars, the swings, and the fireman's pole, and nobody so much as blinked, at least so as I noticed. I'd also taken special care to dress a little more "girly" with a tee-shirt with flowers and dragonflies instead of the usual polo shirt with embroidered emblem. No "molon labe" shirt, sunglasses, shooting hat, or ponytail. I was trying blend in (funny, I know).

It was halfway through the evening before anyone approached me regarding my firearm. A couple had moved here from the other coast, and wanted to know what you needed to do to O/C in Virginia. Now, I will give this group that I was talking with credit for being pro-2A, but when the conversation turned to defending oneself, and one commented "Make sure that if you shoot an intruder in your home, you don't shoot to wound. You shoot to kill. You don't want them telling a different story" I managed to not roll my eyes.

I replied, "Why would you ever shoot to 'wound'? You are in fear for your life, or you are not. You react accordingly."

I don't know if the resulting 30 seconds of silence resulted from them pondering the wisdom of my words, or questioning my sanity. I DO know that the next time one of us runs into this group there will be a stack of 2A Foundation brochures left behind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Identify Friend or Foe

For anyone out there whose initial reaction to seeing someone with a gun is "ZOMG! That person has a HANDGUN!!!1eleventy!, here's a handy guide to help you tell the good guys from the bad guys.

Is the weapon properly holstered or not?

If the answer is yes, he or she is most likely a good guy. It really is that simple.

I'm not saying an unholstered gun is unsafe, I'm saying that will cause me to reevaluate the situation. Unsafe gun handling is guaranteed to get my attention and I will react accordingly.

Sweet Daughter has even been taught that, in an emergency, a grown-up using a gun responsibly is a pretty good bet to keep her safe and get her help.

So, if you see me out and about with my tactical Tupperware and all those extra magazines to keep the darn rig somewhat balanced, I'm doing it to keep my family safe. I'm not doing it to draw attention to myself, or to get in your face. I just want to get my errands done and go home. And remember that if you're a good guy, I'm on your side.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I am delighted to have been nominated

… for a Gunnie Award in the following category:

Best Gun Blog – Female

Luckgunner.com sponsors these awards and I’m absolutely tickled to death to have been included. I met Brian in Pittsburgh two weeks ago at the NRA convention, and he very graciously included me and Shorter Half when he took the real gun bloggers to lunch on Sunday. I say “real” gun bloggers, because I’m sure that the visitors I get from Mara Riley’s knitting page, and those that come here for the Banyan posts via the Jane Austin site may be a bit confused about this award. And, yeah. Tam and Breda are on that list as well, along with LOTS of other movers and shakers. Regardless, I’m honored to have been included and hope that I can drive even a few people over to check out LuckyGunner. Voting closes on Friday, May 27th, so go, check them out and vote. And I’m not even asking that it be for me.

Now, if they only had lead ball for my muskets and new pistol …

Woman with a gun in plain sight and a child in tow …

… enter a grocery store and pick up some milk. And had a very nice conversation with a gentleman with a “Waste Management” t-shirt whose accent indicated that he originated way north of the “Sweet Tea Line”* about the different types of flavored coffee creamer that are available. Sweet Daughter selected some discounted Easter stickers to buy with her allowance and only fussed when she realized that I carry her on the same side as my pistol (uncomfortable for her), and so insisted on riding in a cart. The rather flamboyant cashier with the multi-colored star tattoos on his neck and the multiple facial piercings didn’t even bat an eye. But then, I don’t think I was his type.

I just wonder how long it will be until I have the guts to do this while shopping for shoes or clothes in the city.

*The Mason-Dixon line has nothing to do with where the South begins. When you go to your localnon-chain eatery and ask for sweetea (all one word) and they don’t bring regular iced tea and sugar packets, but have a separate pitcher of tea-flavored simple-syrup, you know you’re in the south. I was in a restaurant near Annapolis and asked for sweet tea. I was informed that they didn’t have any, but they had regular tea and sugar. “That’s not a solution” I said. “That’s a precipitate.”

I’m such a geek.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Disgruntled woman enters grocery store with a gun ...

… in plain sight and 49 rounds of ammunition and nothing happened. Well, except that she walked out in a better mood than when she walked in.

On some level, I felt obligated. I have often said I feel like such a poseur in the gun community – my knowledge consists little more than The Four Rules, knowing which end of the gun is the most dangerous, and that a .45 is bigger than a .38. I know to roll my eyes when my coworker tells me that if the caliber doesn’t start with a “.4”, it’s not worth carrying. (Especially when I ask what he carries and he tells me he doesn’t have a pistol.) And I know that January 23rd should be a national holiday.

While in Pittsburgh, I open carried for the first time. It was cool, but when you’re surrounded by 69,999 like-minded people, it’s not such a big deal. When we got back home, JayG posted his thoughts.

And Mike W., who open carries regularly chimed in.

And then Breda goes and knocks one out of the park, summed up with “You can create the future while securing your own.”

Then Alan piles on with a plea to contact Texas representatives to get an open carry bill pushed along. Here in VA, open carry is legal, and I’m not taking advantage of it.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine

And I realized I have a responsibility as a role model for Sweet Daughter to push the envelope of my comfort zone in order to support those freedoms, because

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ~James Madison, speech, Virginia Convention, 1788

Last weekend, Michael W. took my Miami Vice II shoulder rig from Galco orange to a beautiful dark brown. And tonight, I wore it to the grocery store, unconcealed, and nobody cared. One gentleman did look at me a little funny, but that’s not unusual even when I’m not wearing a gun. And the cashier was especially friendly, reminding me that if I bought my wine in quantity, I’d get 10% off AND a free wine bag.

I’m not an evangelist of any sort. I don’t particularly like talking to strangers, but I do feel like this is a way in which I can make some small contribution back to the gunnie community. I can help desensitize John Q. Public to the sight of a regular person with a gun. And Sweet Daughter will be right there helping. When someone asks me why I’m carrying, I’ll ask SD “What’s the best defense against a bad guy with a gun?” And she’ll answer “A good guy with a gun!”

You can create the future while securing your own.

Thank you for pointing that out, Breda. Because, really – how many people have that opportunity?

Monday, May 9, 2011

New shiny!

1848 Colt Baby Dragoon pocket revolver, and it’s my first percussion gun. Because one can never have too many obscure calibers.

.31 caliber. And, no. I can't get the picture stay in landscape orientation.


(Thanks, Michael W.!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pictures from Saturday night

Photos are courtesy of my Blogfather, JayG, and his new camera. 

With my blogfather, JayG at the "after party".

With Weer'd Beard at the 2A Blog Bash.

With the cool-beyond-belief Breda at the 2A Blog Bash

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Werewolf Shoes

Mid-life crisis shoes -- cheaper than a convertable.
It's not easy taking pictures of your own feet from this angle. This is the best I've got for now -- I'll update if I get any better ones to add. (That's a hint. If you've got anything from Saturday, please send them to me. If I don't have pictures, it didn't happen, right?)

UPDATED to add:
Thanks Blogfather!

Anti-gun Protest

Sweet Daughter got to see the her first demonstration on Saturday. We went out with the other bloggers to watch the antis* march in and …


We hung around, got a bite to eat, visited a bit, and Sweet Daughter asked for a pen and paper. All I had was a napkin, but she sat down and proceeded to draw this.

That’s a demonstrator trying to take her guns away. She’s the one saying “No No No”. That object with the circle in the middle off to the left is a target.

When she was done with that, she begged a piece of paper from JayG and walked around copying names off of NRA attendee badges for her “People I Like” list. It wasn’t technically a “Bloggers I’ve Met” list as she pointed out that she doesn’t have her own blog, and it included friends from her kindergarten class.

After waiting for around an hour with nobody showing up, we went back inside to stand in line to meet “Gunny” when the call came through that the demonstrators had finally shown up. We went back out, and I listened to their spokesperson being interviewed by the local news station. Near as I could tell, they wanted to make it very, very difficult for people to get guns legally as that would solve the problem of drugs in their neighborhood. Or something. I explained to SD that while I did not agree with what they were saying, they had a right to say it. Just like we could tell them how we felt.

And then I saw the woman across the street with the sign that said “Give your children hugs, not guns!” and something flipped the little switch in my brain from “rational discourse” to “THAT PERSON IS A THREAT TO SD’S SAFETY!”

Yeah. It wasn’t pretty. I yelled, and I was not logical, rational, or coherant. I learned that counter-demonstrating is not my strong point, and next time I’ll follow SD's exampole, and just point and laugh.

* On another note, it was determined that a group of hippies, like a murder of crows or a parliament of owls, should be referred to as a "Patchouli of Hippies".

Photo bleg

I didn't get any pictures of the shoes last Saturday. Can anybody help me out?

Thanks ...


Monday, May 2, 2011

Just got the good news!

Shanksville, PA, May 1, 2011
They got Osama. How very fitting that we stopped at the Shanksville Memorial on the way home from the NRA Convention yesterday. As Shorter Half pointed out to Sweet Daughter – it was not a graveyard, it was a battlefield. She understands that there are bad guys out there that want to do us harm simply because they are bad guys, but it was still difficult explaining the magnitude of what happened on September 11th, 2001. Her alarm clock just went off, and I got to tell her that the bad guy who decided those planes should crash into building was dead.

We’ve already run up our special occasion Colors. This flag flew in the skies of Afghanistan aboard the RQ-1B Predator, tail #96-3053, on November 7th, 2002 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM to aid in the capture of Al Queda and Taliban terrorists.