Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day Sixteen

(Second post in my migraine journal) Sixteen days without a migraine is nowhere a record for me, but I've been having a rough go of it lately, so it's notable. My poor Jim has gotten so he's skittish about my mentioning days without migraine because he thinks it might trigger one. He has been right there with me on this pain-filled journey.

I've given up migraine trigger foods before, for a few weeks, but I've never known nor given them all up at once, and the list is staggering at first. Actually, it lists nearly all of my favorite and daily foods. There are tons of trigger lists in books and online, and they all name many of the same foods, but there are significant differences, and I decided to follow this one for now. If it doesn't do the job, I'll subtract foods on other lists from my diet. But when I began reading in the Buchholz book, I thought "Well, goody. At least he says I can drink water."

The main foods I've put aside for at least 4 months are caffeine (I adore coffee but thought I was being so good drinking decaf coffee, green tea, or Teeccino....Nope! to all of these.), cheese (Except for un-aged American cheese; I hadn't considered how many of my favorite foods have cheddar or mozzarella, or Parmesan in them.), chocolate (except for white chocolate), avocados, (What's a salad without avocado?) balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar (For years, I've cooked with, drunk, and bathed in ACV), MSG (been trying to avoid that stuff for years), processed meats (like deli turkey, canned tuna and salmon), nuts (I couldn't believe nuts. They've been my healthy go-to food forever.), alcohol (I'm not much of a drinker, but I have enjoyed my frozen Margarita once a week or so at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Instead, I can have vodka. Woohoo.), citrus fruits (Fresh squeezed lemon juice is a staple for me, and when I get a cold, I want a bag of Clementine oranges.), pineapples (Who knew? There have been times when I bought one or two fresh pineapples a week, sliced them up and kept them in a ziplock bag in the fridge. What could be a healthier snack?), sauerkraut (I've even learned to make my own.), onions (Almost everything I cook has dehydrated or fresh onions in it.), freshly baked bread (I've been baking loaves of bread and pans of crescent rolls my whole adult life. Turns out, even store bought bread is less likely to trigger than fresh bread.), and there are others, but these are the ones having the biggest impact (apparently) on my life.

Of course it's somewhat easier eating at home than it is in restaurants or other people's homes. My first Christmas party was an eye-opener. First, the spinach, almond, and strawberry salad with raspberry dressing, I put my slivered almonds on Jim's plate and didn't have any dressing. Dry, fresh spinach. Yum. The fresh dinner rolls looked and smelled amazing, but I passed the plate on around. The main course was okay, and then for dessert, we had a choice of cheesecake or chocolate cake. Usually, I would have gone for the chocolate, but the cheesecake was amazing.

As I mention foods and excerpts from my current program in David Buchholz's book, I hope you won't think you can find everything online and don't need to own the book. The program is easy to summarize, but there's so much wisdom in his book, insights I've never known in 40+ years of searching for answers. And I've done a lot of reading in these years, so if I slip up and mention a food that's not in his book, all the more reason to have his book to check the facts for yourself.

So that's where I am as of this moment. I was thrilled beyond words that giving up the caffeine didn't give me a rebound migraine as you might expect. And I've had some head-achy mornings and nights when I felt it could be the aura of a migraine creeping up on me, but I've taken one of the NSAIDs he recommends, and so far, so good. Leave me a message if anything I've said isn't clear. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Heal Your Headache, a Migraine Journey

I haven't talked much here about migraines. I don't talk much about them in my day-to-day life, either. When the neighbors notice that I haven't been around much, Jim knows to tell them I've got a cold or something....I don't want to be known as that poor lady who has those awful headaches. But I've been struggling with migraine my whole adult life. At one time or another, it has ruined Christmases, vacations, and keeps us from planning outings more than a couple of days ahead. I have the best husband in the world, and if I said I wanted to go to Venice with some friends, he'd make sure I had everything I needed. I don't go, though, because it's bad lying in a hotel room in some fun destination, staring into the black haze. At least now, I can go to bed and deal with it in the darkness of my bedroom. The real hell was teaching and counseling through the blinding pain. Yeah, those were the worst of times.

I've run the gamut of doctors and specialists, enough to make me extremely cynical toward the medical profession. I've gone to emergency rooms in the middle of the night, where they knocked me out with drugs, and I woke up with the migraine. I've studied migraines voraciously. I read books, scour the net, and try every remedy that friends, family and strangers mention, no matter how far fetched. Some said that when I went through menopause, the migraines would stop. Ah! Now there was a light at the end of my tunnel. Well, I've done menopause, and the migraines didn't change. I don't want to know how much money I've spent chasing this elusive dream of a migraine-free life.

On an average, I have a migraine every two weeks, and they usually last 1-3 days, but there was a time when my migraine journal showed me with migraine 70% of the time. It varies. Just after Thanksgiving, though, when I usually decorate with gay abandon, inside and out, for Christmas, I got a killer migraine. Yes, they come in varying degrees, too. This one lasted 14 days, and when it was over, Christmas had been sucked from me. I didn't want to decorate or shop. Then it took another 3 days to stop wobbling around like an old lady. Hush! I am not an old lady, but I'm getting older, and it takes longer to recover from the ordeal. Lately I've been taking Axert, one of the Triptans. They rarely end the migraine but take the edge off, sometimes. I'm afraid of Triptans. When I was giving myself Sumatriptan injections, I felt as if it would stop my heart. I would sit on the edge of the bed, inject it into my thigh, and fall backwards into near unconsciousness, first telling Jim to keep an eye on me to see if I were breathing.

I recently discovered Pinterest. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. It's like getting a stack of new magazines each day in 101 subjects, the number of Boards I currently have. My latest Board is titled Migraine. I'm coming out of the closet a bit. And that's how I stumbled onto Dr. David Buchholz's book and ordered it from By the time it arrived, I had come to think this was more wasted dollars. The book has hundreds of glowing reviews, but it also has some loud detractors in reviews and blogs who have called him an arrogant jerk who looks down on his patients and readers. So, I opened its pages with much skepticism. When he said that I would have to get off my Triptans, completely, I wrote smart alecky comments in the margins. (I carry on a conversation with most of my books, in ink.) But then, I settled into it and grudgingly admitted he was making sense. And then I decided to follow the program, and that's why I'm blogging. I first dedicated myself to 4 months, but today I read a girl's blog who didn't see results for 8 months. Hey, if I get results, I'm in for the rest of my life. I plan to share this journey on my blog.

In between, I'll still blog about whatever catches my attention, but I hope blogging my experiences, whether the David Buchhuolz program works or not, will help some other migraineurs (still now sure if I like that word). It's not an easy program. The diet lists each an every one of my favorite foods, but I remind myself that no food is worth the agony of a migraine. Yes, he is a doctor, but he seems to have left the herd behind. And yes, he's making money off his book, but his program is geared toward getting migraine sufferers to the point of being self sufficient, not making lifelong dependents on meds and office calls. We'll see.
Wishing you Blessings and pain-free Holidays,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Drinking Marigolds

We've had a frost or two, and the nights are chilly enough that most of my flowers have gone to rest, but the Marigolds still glow in the afternoon and morning sun. I have an affinity for these flowers, love the smell of them, the moist coolness of the blooms. They're more than just a pretty flower, though. When made into a tea, cream, salve or tincture, they're called Calendula and have many health benefits. I picked some blooms Thursday and brought them in to dehydrate for tea.
I also picked some Stevia leaves to dry with them, which I've tried dehydrating and then grinding, but the powder tends to float in the tea, so this time I'm leaving the leaves whole, and maybe a trace of their sweetness will develop along with the Marigold tea. I washed them in vinegar water, mostly to drown any tiny bugs living in the blooms, let them drain, and then spread them on a cookie sheet. We have some dehydrators, but when possible, I'd rather use my oven. I put these in for most of the day on 170 degrees, the lowest my oven will go.
They're not 100% dehydrated, but I figure the longer they "cook" the more nutrients are lost, so I'm planning to keep them in the freezer. You can also shred them up, but they're so much prettier this way. You can't say many commercially prepared herbal teas are pretty. Adding hot water to a couple of blooms and a Stevia leaf causes them the blossom all over again. They taste like sweet grasses.....but that's really what all herbal teas taste like to me. I could add coconut milk or lemon or agave nectar, but I usually don't.
Drinking herbal teas isn't an instant cure-all. It's a quiet, patient process that builds on itself. Calendula is known for its ability to heal minor skin infections, cuts, and bruises, as well as a host of other benefits. The component of the Calendula flower that gives it its bright orange color is beta-carotene. The flowers also contain essential oils and sugars that are known to stimulate the immune system, making it ideal to drink when you think you are on the verge of a cold, or to speed healing. As an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent, it can be quite helpful and is used for ear infections, eye infections, and to relieve sore throats. It's also helpful in treating digestive disorders. When used in skin care, it has been shown to increase the production of collagen in the body, leading to a more youthful appearance. So, I just thought I would share my pretty tea with you. I plan to dehydrate more blooms before the first hard freeze kills my glowing Marigolds.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Promoting a Book

When I left the Cabot Library yesterday, I thought of the Steve Martin movie, The Jerk, where he's running down the street waving a book and yelling, "The new phonebooks are here! The newphone books are here!" because his name was now in print. I had just asked the head librarian, a pretty, friendly lady with wild, black flowing hair, how I might go about getting my new novel, Going over Jordan, on the list to be purchased by the library. She said just give her the title and author, and she would order it that same day. Wow! I'll be able to look my book up online in the card catalog. Who'd a thunk it?

I'm finding that the writing is the fun part. The promoting, not so much. Putting myself and my book out there is sort of excruciating for an introvert. But I'm getting great feedback from the people who have bought it. Maybe the ones who detest it are keeping mum. That's okay :) The book signing went awesomely, stupendously well, but of course I had images of me sitting there for 3 hours all by my lonesome. Some of us regularly expect the worst and then are often pleasantly surprised. My friend and former classmate, Linda Spurlock, took the above pic. Maybe she won't sue me for using it without permission. But then a lawsuit would be they say in Hollywood, bad publicity is better than no publicity.

My publisher, Rick Baber, said for me to just keep plugging on the promotion stuff, but he also said that he thinks it's going to be an important book someday. Gee, Rick, I hope you're right! I'll be running down the street, waving my book, screaming, "They like my book! They like my book!"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Book Went Live!

This is a quickie post to say that my publisher, Rick Baber, pushed the button last night to make my book go live.

It will soon be on Rick's site as well and then

This is seriously exciting. You write for months, wondering if it's any good, and then comes the day when you release it onto an unsuspecting world. When my proof arrived in the mail, I thought it was just some book I'd ordered. My heart skipped a beat when I tore open the package and actually held it in my hands.

I hope you'll buy my book and give me feedback. There's already another one in the works.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Going over Jordan

I've always thought I could write a novel. Well, it looks as if I have! A year ago, almost to the day, I began writing a story....actually I began taking dictation as the story told itself to me. When I really got into the process, I would wake up mornings excited, wanting to find out what would happen to Callie today.

The writing is the fun part, though. Then you may want to expose your wordy creation to the world. You want people to love your baby as much as you do, but you steel yourself to the reality that it may not be, and you press onward anyway, because writing is meant to be read.

Jim was the first to read it, which surprised us both because he's more of a Louis L'amour type of guy and only reads when he's at deer camp and wants to fall asleep. But once he got into it, he was excited about my story and urged me on when I grew weary and wanted to stick it in a file and go onto my next addiction. (The man has always been my biggest fan, whether I'm writing for a magazine, painting, or smearing grout on a mosaic guitar.) He also helped with editing and made lots of suggestions, most of which I agreed with because his logical, engineering mind saw gaps that my Pisces Dreaming mind skimmed over.

The next step was to let a few friends read a couple of chapters. I told them, forget you know me. Read it as if you picked it up on a bookstore shelf. Make notes of errors and problems, also questions you have about the plot, etc. Be specific. One said she really liked it. Period. Another, a lifelong friend, asked if it were "autobiographical" and said, "If it is, it's creeping me out." No, it's not about me or anybody I ever knew. My sister took it and then simply said, "You know I'm not much of a reader." Okaaay. Finally, I sent it to an online friend whom I've known for several years. She just got through self-publishing her own book, and when I skimmed over her chapters, I was guilty of saying that's very good and leaving it at that. Hey, I was more interested in writing my book. She, however, started her critique of mine off with, "Of course you've always been a good writer, but..." That's never a good sign. She then proceeded to lambast each and every detail of the two random chapters I'd sent her, going on for pages with numbered bullets about how she hated it and how unreadable it was. Gee, that was helpful.

Bloody but unbowed, I finished up the gazillionth rewrite (based only on mine and Jim's critiques) and sent it to a local publisher who immediately said he loved it and would definitely publish it. Now we were getting somewhere. He gave it to his editor and said she was so excited about it and kept copying phrases from it to send to him. He said that's unusual. I said, "Thank you, Jesus."

Now it looks as if my baby will be released this week or at least this month. Hey, if nobody reads it, or if they read it and don't like it, at least, I've published a book. I've got plenty more addictions that need tending.

Here's what the blurb on the back of the book says (I did my own cover, by the way).

"How do you walk away from the life and the only security you've known, with a few belongings and your best friend, who happens to be a teddy bear, and start over?

In the summer of 1962, in a rural community nestled deep in the foothills of the Ozarks, Callie Jaggers finds out in the twinkling of an eye that the suspect truths she has built her young life upon are lies when she is brutally molested, left for dead and then thrown to the wolves. But in this spellbinding Southern Gothic tale, this might be the gateway to the life she was born to live.

Going over Jordan is a journey that spans a lifetime and more, as Callie learns to face her own inner demons, as well as a very real nightmare that stalks her through the forest and just won't leave her alone.

Her own healing begins when Callie accepts her ability to heal others and learns that sometimes our true family is not the one we were born into. Her journey takes us to an extraordinary world of labyrinths, ancient crystal caverns, of moonstones with the power to restore the light that's been stolen, and the Wolf Clan who avenges its own. And Happily Ever After? Well, that would be giving away the ending, wouldn't it?"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Straw Bale Gardening

It has been a busy spring. My first adventure with straw bale gardening has had its ups and downs, what with battalions of slugs chomping away at my plants. After I sort of got them under control, I replanted the beans, peas, okra and cucumbers. Chilly nights have kept things from really taking off, but I thought I'd post a few pics for those who have been wondering about and considering straw bale gardening or just a backyard/container garden.
I have 3 tomato plants; a yellow pear, Brandywine, and Better Boy
Cantaloupes and sweet peppers.
Carrots in a planter box.
General kitchen herbs
Lemon Balm and Oxalis
Mixed lettuce
Pole Beans, the idea being that they'll climb the metal tower. C'mon guys, you can do it!
Sweet peas. Jim built the trellises for me, of course.The marigolds scattered everywhere are supposed to protect the veggies, but in the worst of the slug attack, they were mowing down the marigolds, too!
Two pear trees and a new fig tree. Also, a peach tree, but the frost bit the blooms off, no peaches this year.
A new grapevine.
And I got a rain barrel. Now if it would just rain enough to fill it.  That's it for now. As things grow, I'll post more pics.
By the way, those slugs, I tried every remedy I read about, including sawdust, diatomaceous earth, coffee, sand, and saucers of beer. Of these, the beer worked best, but they still kept coming, even though I was out in the middle of the night, with my flashlight, salting drunken slugs. I finally ordered Slug-go from That stuff works, but it's expensive, and you have to sprinkle it heavily and fairly often.
So, with slug remedies, replanting, and everything else involved in planting and tending a garden, my little garden is fairly expensive, but I love going out in the mornings with my huge cup of coffee (not really coffee, but that's another post) in hand and walking around, looking at my garden. It's worth the trouble and cost. I'll post more pics as my garden grows.
Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mosaic Guitar

A couple of years ago, I blogged about the old dulcimer that I mosaiced (is that a word?), and I'm finally getting around to doing a guitar. Doing mosaics isn't hard. I don't make diagrams or elaborate tile plans, but I experiment with placement as I go. Also, you have to not mind cut, raw fingers and a dirty workspace. Here's the dulcimer:

It's hard to get great pics of shiny objects. I tried taking them outside and shooting without a flash. It worked fairly well. I looked for an old guitar, but the ones I found were considered vintage or something and were expensive, so I bought a beginner guitar on for fairly cheap. It had a beautiful finish, and I hated to sand it down, but anything in the name of art.

So, I began gluing tiles using Weldbond glue. It doesn't have a noxious odor (no migraine), it's workable for several minutes so I can change my mind, and when it dries, it's clear and extremely strong. You can see my pencil lines where I experimented with tile placement.

I glued clear, rounded stones inside because the hole in a guitar is so big. (I forgot to take pics of the back, and I'm too lazy to go do it now, but I covered it with irregular pink and teal stones that look like stones in the bottom of a river to me.)

Here's the dirty part. I've learned to spend more time on grouting so that I don't have such a mess to clean up when it's dry. I hate chiseling my pretty stones out of the concrete. This grout job took about 5 hours, but it was worth it because there was almost no cleanup the next day.

I like the way it turned out, but of course on any art project you can always think of how you might do it differently next time. Jim and I cut the tiles from sheets of stained glass and an old mirror.

Marley is usually so good while I paint, mosaic, or whatever, and he lies on my worktable, but in the making of this piece, he decided to eat glass tiles, so he lost his exulted position, poor li'l guy. I can't have him eating glass, though.

Jim made hangers for both pieces. We're a great team; I come up with the ideas, and he can make anything. Sorry ladies, he's taken. They're hung farther apart than I'd like, but they are so heavy that the hangers had to be screwed into studs.
Thanks for stopping by. I've been doing lots of other stuff, like writing a novel and planting a straw bale garden. More on those later.
Cat, Marley & Jim

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Make a Mirror from an Old Window

Sometimes I buy stuff that I don't have an inspiration for at the moment, but I stick them back, and eventually it comes. When I saw that Krylon had a mirror spray, I knew what I wanted to do with it. A couple of years ago, I'd bought this old window at a garage sale for $2 and was hoping I still had it, so I did a little happy dance with I found it behind some boards in the garage! The only hard part of this project was lifting and carrying the window because it weighs a ton.

One side was shabbier than the other, so I decided to use that as the front. You spray the paint on the back side of the glass. I took it outside and washed the whole thing down with the hose, then let it dry for an hour or so. This is my kind of project because I didn't want a perfect paint job; I was trying for an aged, peeling effect. I didn't even tape it off because the over-spray on the back won't show when it's hung on the wall or leaned against it.

I sprayed on one, fairly even coat. Note: The paint will take on a mat finish on the painted side, but the front is shiny. Next, in order to create the imperfections, I put water in a bowl, dipped my fingertips in it, and splattered it unevenly on the painted glass. You could use a spray bottle, but I really think that splattering it will give a less uniform water pattern. Also, leave some dry places, where the "aging" isn't so advanced. I sprayed on another coat of paint and let it set for a few minutes to dry, then tipped the window up in order to get runs. I loved the way that looked! This leaves little pouches of water under the paint, so I took a paper towel and carefully dabbed all the pouches to absorb the water. I gave this 30 minutes to dry, then sprayed on the final coat. There was exactly enough paint in the can for this project. If you're doing a larger area, buy accordingly. I paid $12 for the can, but you might find it cheaper.

Another 30 minutes, and I decided to place it on the mantle. The wreath was already there, and I may raise it because it covers up quite a bit of my mirror. The mirror effect is somewhat transparent, and I considered covering the back with dark mat board but decided it wasn't necessary once it's against the wall.
I'm super happy with my "antique mirror". It looks like it belongs on my mantle. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Essential Oils on the Tissue Roll

I love pretty aromas, but I can't handle the strong, commercial scents, like Febreze. They make it hard to breathe, and if I hang around long enough, I'll get a migraine. I picked up this scenting tip over at Pinterest, but I've taken it a step further. One of the photos I pinned described how to shake a few drops of essential oil into the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll to scent the whole room. (I have more essential oils than a normal person should, but normal is waaaay overrated.)

So, I tried it, and within 24 hours, each bathroom smelled like the particular oil I chose for it. One got Patchouli, another Texas Cedarwood, and the third Peppermint--yeah, that may be an odd choice for a bathroom, but it does smell fresh! The scents are light but noticeable when you walk into the room, and after a couple of days, even the paper has a faint scent of the oil. Each time you spin the roll, it releases even more scent--Glade is going to make a million with this idea as soon as they hear about it, but theirs will smell like a perfume factory exploded in the bathroom.

Less is more with essential oils, so don't drench the roll. You don't want oily, overpowering tissue. Shaking drops from one of those bottles is an inexact science, but I try for a couple of drops in each core.

Then I realized that Jim often changes the rolls in the hall bath he uses most, and I don't expect him to take the time to drip oil each time. Also, I figured I'd skip it if I were in a hurry. So, I decided to scent all the rolls stored in each bathroom cabinet. It only takes a minute, they're ready to go, and the extra rolls are already getting saturated. I doubt visitors will rave about how great my bathroom smells, but I bet they'll notice it. I was thinking that I could change the scents with the seasons. How about Frankincense and Myrrh for Christmas? It takes so little to make me happy.
Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trashy Stories

Of course the trash we set out at the curb reveals a lot about us. It's everything we've used up, discarded, and don't want in our lives any longer. As I was walking through my neighborhood yesterday morning, though, I got to thinking that you can also invent stories about people's trash.

Take this one, for example. It contained five pizza boxes, but I didn't focus in on them. Instead, I kept thinking about the silver sun screen and that pink silk rose......

After Max just vanished from Trisha's life, then sent a post card from the Florida Keys that said, "Having the time of my life, glad you're not here", life with their four boys had been hard. Really hard.

Trish stopped taking care of herself, let her hair hang in her face and gained ten pounds, but she continued to be a top notch mom to her children. Each day was a grind, get up at 4 AM, make breakfast and lunches for everyone, drop the kids off at three different schools, and make it to work at McDonald's. She had come to hate people, wished they'd stop eating the greasy, chemical filled garbage she served with a pasted-on smile.

Then one day, life got considerably brighter. She was working the window, as usual, when a black, shiny Mazda-RX8 pulled up. The driver was alone. He had a look about him, sort of like an apologetic puppy dog who's not used to being loved. But he was cute, like Bobby DeNiro cute in his younger days. He hadn't looked through her like everyone else did who rushed through to grab a sack lunch. When she opened the window, he sat studying her face. And then he smiled that playful, boyish smile she would come to know. He said, "What gourmet delicacy would you recommend today, beautiful lady?"
"I would recommend that your drive forward, turn right onto the street, and go on down to Vino's." He laughed and said, "I'm in a tearing hurry. Just give me a burger and a Coke." When she handed him his order, he said, "But I'm new in town, and Vino's sounds pretty good. How about you and I go there tonight?"
"Oh, I can't, I've got four boys, and I don't get out much."
"Four boys, huh? I have three girls. They're worth all the trouble, huh?"
"Yes. They are."

And for three weeks, he had shown up at her window everyday for a Coke and a burger. They would talk while he waited, and she learned that his name actually was Robert, but he didn't like being called Bobby. He was divorced and had been transferred to the area to manage Dillard's. Trish took to looking longer in the mirror in the mornings, highlighted her hair and held it back with clips. She stopped eating the food where she worked.

Then one day he asked again, "Do you think you might find time to go to Vino's for with me this weekend? I was thinking we might get a sitter and leave our kids at your house or mine, along with a bunch of pizza." She had hoped he'd ask again, but she hesitated so as not to seem too eager. "Yeah, I think I know people, and you seem like a nice guy."
"I am a nice guy, when someone gives me half a chance."

They'd left the seven kids at Trisha's house the following Saturday, the smell of pizza filling the house, with her cousin as babysitter. She had decided lunch at Vino's was better, and then she could be back with her kids by dark. Robert opened doors for her, told her how pretty she was, and the day had started off wonderfully. After lunch, they'd gone for a drive in the country, and he opened the glove box and handed her a pink silk rose with a frilly pink ribbon around the stem and a note attached. Trish had mentioned once that pink was her favorite color. She smiled as they whisked down the tree-lined lane and opened the note. It said, "Trisha, this rose is a token of my love for you. I want you to marry me and be a mother to my children, and I'll be a father to yours. I will be a devoted husband, forever, and you will never have to work at that window again."

She looked up at him, puzzled. "Robert, this is very sweet. I mean, is it a joke?"
"Why would it be a joke?" he replied, "I thought you felt the same way about me."
"No, well, I mean, I really like you, and I was hoping we could spend some time together and maybe, someday...."
"Maybe someday? What's wrong with today? I took you to lunch, treated you like a queen, opened my heart to you, and you ask if it's a joke?" He was driving much too fast, and she was getting more scared by the minute.

"Robert, stop the car! You're behaving like a crazy man!"
"Crazy? Me? You sound just like my ex!" He did pull over, into a path that led to a pasture. Trish fumbled with the door handle and then jumped out but stood staring at him, wondering how this day had gone so wrong. He opened his door but not before he carefully arranged a folding sun screen in his window, taking care to position it just right. Then he sprang from the car, came around to her and put his arms on her shoulders. She thought he was going to apologize, but he shook her violently and said in a steely voice, "Now, let's forget all this coy behavior. You know it's right between us. You felt it the same as I did that first day. I've already got your ring, and I was going to give it to when we went to my house just up the road, while we made love."
"Robert, you've got this all wrong! People don't just go out once and then get married!"
He looked crushed. "That's what the others said. That's why they're dead."

Panic flooded over her. Out of the corner of her eye she was watching the highway, praying for an oncoming car, but there was none. She jerked out of his grasp and began running toward the barbed wire fence. As she fought to climb it, the barbs tore her clothes and skin, but she made it over just as he caught up and grabbed the sleeve of her blouse. She pulled frantically, then jerked the front open, sending buttons flying, and left him standing on the other side of the fence, holding the lavender and lace blouse she'd bought just for this day. She took off running across the wide field, and he stood there, looking after her. He called, "I'm not running after you, Trisha. You'll have to go home sometime, and I'll be there with our kids, waiting for you............."

So, that's a five minute start on a story that could get kind of interesting :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter Fifty-Something: Look out! Cat's Got a Gun.

I've never liked guns. Jim has rifles and shotguns for hunting, which he uses a lot, but I don't touch them. A girl could get hurt that way. So, needless to say, I've never fired a gun.

It seems to me, though, that the world is getting crazier by the second, and as February approached (my birthday month), I began thinking about what I'd really like to have, and I was ready when Jim asked. I wanted a handgun and a Concealed Carry Weapon permit. Muggers, rapists, and terrorists are constantly in the news, and the Survivalists are scaring me as well. Maybe being a little scared is a good thing, but I realized that if mayhem broke out, I wanted to feel as if I'd have at least a chance of fighting back.

Well, my darling Jim was flummoxed. At first he simply said, "No, you'll get killed with it." It made me think of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker asking for a Red Rider BB gun. At least he didn't say, "You'll shoot your eye out."

But sometimes I have to remind him that I'm not his child and that I'm several years past 18. We didn't mention it again for a while, and when he brought it up again, he'd already made arrangements for us to take the CCW class together, and we began visiting gun stores to learn about guns that are small enough, light enough, but powerful enough for someone of my stature to carry and hope she never gets the chance to use it, except on the firing range.

He had told the gun store/firing range owner, where the classes are held, that he was afraid that I couldn't get 16 out of 20 shots on a sheet of typing paper at 21 feet, so they arranged for me to go a week early for private instruction and practice. I enjoyed the whole thing, and I surprised myself and the instructor by not flinching when I fired, and all my shots hit the paper! On the way home, Jim worried that he might not be able to do as well as I did, and we planned to go back for him to practice, but then he had a medical issue that took all our attention and energy, so we never got around to it.

The class was fairly boring, as you'd expect, 4 hours of reading and discussing rules that anyone could just as easily read from a leaflet in 15 minutes, but the state has responsibilities, and if I go shooting someone's head off, they can say, "Hey, we did our part!" The class and applications for both of us cost $500. I think it's like $35 in Mississippi, but then we don't live in Mississippi.

I posted my target sheet above, 20/20, not too shabby for the second time I've ever held a handgun, using a gun that's not mine, and with people standing behind me waiting their turns. We both passed, but the instructor did point out that Jim didn't have any direct hits (black square) on his :) My shots tend to be low, and he said that's because I haven't learned to time my breathing, which will come with practice.

I haven't settled on which gun I want, but I'll post back here when I get it and talk about why I chose it, so it might help other ladies decide.

Marley's hasn't been a part of all this. He shivers against me in terror if he hears a gunshot on TV, or if it thunders. But I feel as if I might be better able to help protect all three of us.

Edit, 3/2/12: I bought my gun, a Smith and Wesson .38 Special Air Weight. I went into this thinking I wanted a semi-automatic, but the more I handled them in the stores and shooting range, I realized that, at least for now, I want the simplicity of a revolver. I guess my hands have average strength for a woman, and just loading the bullets into the magazine, I cut my thumb. I was straining so hard to push off the safety, etc., just a lot of fiddly things to think about and do with a semi-automatic. With the revolver, you load and shoot.

Also, semi-automatics can jam, which mine did on the firing range. The instructor said he was glad it did because it gave him a chance to explain what happened. My wrist, for some reason, is more limp shooting a semi-automatic, and any time I let the gun tilt back or down, it would jam. Clearing it is another process. For someone like me, who will practice a few times a year, and who prays I'll never get the chance to use my gun in a defense situation, a revolver is just best. It's beautiful, has some recoil but not enough to make me afraid of it. I think I would have been afraid of a semi-automatic, and that's not a good thing.

Jim wants to put Crimson Trace hand grips on my gun. They're very cool looking, but the one I practiced with, I didn't care for much. It would take some practice to squeeze the button on the inside of the grip while concentrating on aiming and squeezing the trigger. Yeah, I'm pretty simple minded when it comes to guns, but that's okay, too. He can put the grips on if he wants, but I won't guarantee I'll use the laser light much.
End of Edit:

Thanks for stopping by.
Love, Cat & Marley