Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

January started off as any other month - rough. I was cranky about being single and broke, which I can't blame on Christmas; it just seemed like I couldn't get ahead no matter what I did. Can't say I was looking forward to 2008, I expected it to be just like the years before.

February - still cranky about being single - actually ratcheted it up a notch with Valentine's Day coming. I hated Valentine's Day. Really, I was - for years - a raging bitch between November and February because everything is so "couple" and "family" oriented that it seemed like I was constantly being slapped in the face with my singledom every time I turned around. Add to it that Monster had been acting up at school and finances hadn't gotten any better - I was a PLEASURE to be around. Right up until I threw a temper tantrum a couple of days after Valentine's Day and did a search (again) on Cupid.com. Found an interesting profile for RockCrawlinChef so I sent off an eye-contact. He responded positively and we began daily email communication.

March - Monster was still acting up in school and had been suspended for trying to pass off Advil as Vicodin (idiot). Digger and Ashee-butt, along with the daily emails from RCC, helped keep me sane. After emailling almost constantly for six weeks, we decided to meet in person. Less than 24 hours before the face-to-face, Monster told me he was moving in with his dad. He ripped my heart, still beating, right out of my chest. Thank God for RCC; I had offered him an out, told him that my life was a shamble and told him that he probably didn't need all the drama in my life, and yet he still wanted to meet me. Came home from the meeting 5 hours later and Ashee-butt told me I was going to marry him. Silly girl, what was she thinking?

April - I'm twitterpated! No doubt about it. Stick a fork in me I'm done. Done. Don't know what happened, thought I had my heart guarded pretty well, but that damn RCC just rolled right on by my defenses and stole my heart. Took him up to the Lodge to meet the parents, to Denver to meet Staci, to my Defensive Pistol match, introduced him to the herd. Guess that boy's not going anywhere now.



May - Life just keeps getting better and better. In addition to falling in love (yes, I finally admitted it to myself - everyone else had it figured out, I was just a little slow), the equine love of my life, Estes, became mine. Estes is perhaps the only animal I could love more than RCC. He completely understands that because of the canine love of his life, Allie-bird. My baby, Monster, turned 13 and was abducted by aliens (how else do you explain the huge personality change from my sweet little boy to the teenaged Monster?).
June - Estes and I travelled with Mom and Ashee-butt to Salida to Julie Goodnight's ranch to appear on her show, "Horse Master with Julie Goodnight." While I was gone, Monster and his dad got into a big fight and Jim kicked Monster out of the house. RCC, God bless him, drove Monster to Loveland to pick up his stuff from his dad's and helped him move back into my house. Two days after I got home from Horse Master, RCC proposed. Guess Ashee-butt knew something afterall back in March. Wow, can life get any better?



July - Monster was initally a saint when he moved back home, but began to slide back into his old habits and things got a little rough at home, but I handled it a lot better than I had in the past. Just having someone other than Digger and Ashee-butt to talk to about the house drama made a huge difference. RCC, Monster, and I went camping in Wyoming with my friends Angie and Matt; Monster and RCC spent some good quality time together and came back fairly close. Digger and Ashee-butt had been able to spend more time with him than Monster because they still lived with me - Monster kind of had to play catch-up.


August - Time to meet RCC's family in Utah. I don't know what I was most nervous about - meeting his Utah family or a road trip involving his mom, sister, and brothers. Both turned out to be a lot of fun and we came back with a couple of stories and new experiences (sleeping in the Excursion was a new experience for me at least). The kids' dad moved to Arizona; the boys, who don't spend much time with him, are handling it ok. Ashee-butt, on the other hand, is such a Daddy's girl that it's really hard for her. Digger turned 17. Where is the time going? There's no way he should be so close to adult-hood.


September - Monster's having trouble in school again. He had kind of anticipated it considering everything that happened during spring semester with his suspension. School for him started on a positive note, but slowly back-slid. Digger also was struggling - that damn disease of his sometimes controls him, not the other way around. Even though he was scheduled for one on-site class, most of the time he couldn't make it and ended up completely Homebound. We've settled into a routine - even Ashee-butt is getting used to being at home all the time, not just during the week.

October - Because of his situation at school, Monster made the decision to move to Arizona for a "fresh start". Ugh! I tried to talk him out of it multiple times, but he was determined to leave in November. Good luck and God speed. On October 30th, Monster was hit by a car while skateboarding in his aunt and uncle's neighborhood. Perhaps the worst news a mom can hear is, "your son's been hit by a car". No updates on his injuries, just that he's in room so-and-so at PVH. Turned out to be "just" a broken arm. He was lucky. Again, I was reminded how wonderful RCC is and what a help he's been to all of us.

November - Monster moved to Arizona. The house is much quieter, but I miss his energy and wit. The drama has gone with him. I hope he finds what he's looking for in Arizona. RCC, Digger, and I had our first Thanksgiving together (Ashee-butt was visiting Monster in AZ for the holiday). I really could get used to this being in love and having a "complete" family thing.

December - My baby girl turned 16! And got a hole in her nose, that I paid for (what was I thinking?!). Seriously, it's darling, but I can't believe how expensive it is to poke a sharp, pointy object through one little nostril! We had our first Christmas tree in 7 years. Christmas was fabulous and came off without a hitch! Digger finally got the tattoo he'd been wanting. And I fall a little more in love every day.
What's next? Who really knows? What I know is that my life a year ago really sucked and it affected the kids. We are all in a much better position to face the new year. What I do know is that good things can snowball just like bad things can. I never really believed that, but I do now.

The Family Who Inks Together Stays Together

...or something like that. Digger started asking for a tattoo several months ago and was mildly surprised when I agreed that if he could afford one, he could have one. After all, I've got two and Jay's got two, who am I to say that he can't mark himself for life? He's the one who has to live with it for the rest of his life, not me. I did ask him to really think about where he wanted it and that he should be able to cover it up; it's pretty darn hard to get a job with "sleeves".

He almost had my dad talked into getting him one for his birthday until my dad realized that it was his 17th birthday, not his 18th and bailed, so Digger kind of put his desire on the back burner for awhile. Occasionally he'd mention wanting one, but then would say, "when I've got the money." Poor, poor kid, his mom wouldn't run out and pay for his tattoo (Damn, they're expensive and I still haven't found how to grow a money tree from my butt).

However...RockCrawlinChef ponied up for Digger's tattoo as his Christmas present. We went and made the appointment at Skibo's in Fort Collins for the Saturday after Christmas, then framed the appointment card and wrapped that up for under the tree. You should have seen his face when he opened his gift and it dawned on him what he got.

Digger's appointment became family day, with me, RockCrawlinChef, and Digger's girlfriend all in the room watching him get inked. It was pretty boring, he didn't cry, scream, puke or pass out. BORING!

His tattoo turned out great; I'm really pleased with it and so is he. Andy, the artist, did a great job of customizing a wolf print so that it looks like Digger just got stepped on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas


For the first time in at least seven years we had a tree! Isn't it amazing how time flies? It wasn't until I sat down and really thought about it that I realized so much time had gone by without a Christmas tree. I always justified it as not really necessary since the kids spent every other Christmas at their dad's house and the years they were with me, we spent Christmas at my parent's B&B and they ALWAYS had a tree. Truth be told, there were more than a few years when it was either buy a Christmas tree or presents. The presents always won out. I managed not to miss a Christmas tree, or so I thought. RockCrawlinChef's brought a lot of positive things into our lives, not the least of which was the tree. But I'm especially thankful about the tree.

I love the smell of a live tree - it reminds me of Christmases as a kid. Have I robbed my own kids of that memory by not having a tree for so long? Lord, I hope not. This year has been so different than years past, and Christmas was no exception. The kids and I always had GREAT Christmases, just the four of us and our family, but this year blew all the others out of the water - at least for me. We actually celebrated four times in a 24-hour period - how crazy is that? I suspect that will be the standard from now on, too.

RCC and I each had a non-negotiable, don't-even-consider-asking-me-to-change tradition; luckily, they worked out perfectly. My non-negotiable tradition (well, besides Baking Day) is Christmas Eve at Grandma Mary's. As much as I hate crowds and noise, I live for the crowded chaos of Grandma's on Christmas Eve. Food in abundance, kids in abundance, "butt space" lacking (gotta claim your spot early), wrapping paper flying and kids "oohing" and "aahing" and yelling out "thank you!" - what could be better?

RCC's non-negotiable was Christmas Morning at his parent's. Luckily, his youngest brother is a sleeper-inner and we weren't expected over there too early, which gave us time to open our own presents under the tree (another benefit to having a tree - whoda thunk?). Christmas Morning at his parents was the polar opposite of Christmas Eve at Grandma's, but still a ton of fun. I enjoyed watching everyone open their gifts without the distraction of ducking the flying wrapping paper and elbows as kids tore willy-nilly into their gifts.

By 11:00 am, we had three of our four celebrations down and headed up to the Lodge for the final one. Christmas at Mom's is kind of a combination of both Grandma Mary's and RCC's parents; the kids still tore into their presents, but with Mom handing out the gifts it was much more controlled and we were able to see pretty much everyone open their gifts.

Sadly, Bill's mom had been admitted to the hospital in New Mexico the day before and he'd driven out to be with her, so we missed getting to spend Christmas with him, but he'll come home to plenty of gifts and some left-over Shepherd's pie.

The non-stop 24-hour celebrations took their toll (or RCC and I are getting old) though, and we fell into bed well before 7:00 pm. The kids teased us about our early bedtime, but didn't stay up much longer than we did. As with everything else so far, our lives are melding pretty darn well and I'm so excited about our new life. I'm not sure it gets much better than this!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baking Day!!!!

One of my all-time favorite days of the year is our annual Baking Day (which really has turned into baking weekend with all of the cookies we have to make). My Girls, Staci, Robin, and Sue, come up from Littleton to join my family at mom's lodge (www.allensparklodge.com) every year for a day of baking and catching up. I met my Girls through my boyfriend ten years ago. The boyfriend is long gone, but the Girls and I are as tight as ever. We're not the call-each-other-every-day friends, but the you're-part-of-who-I-am friends. Even though we only see each other a couple of times a year, it's always like we just parted. This is probably one of my favorite traditions and it always amazes me how quickly the year flies by. Baking Day is the only day that the Girls and I can guarantee that we'll get together now that we're not playing soccer multiple times a week. It seems not so long ago that I was driving down to Denver three times a week to play, but in retrospect it's been two break-ups (me and Robin), one marriage (Staci), two children (Staci), one relationship and step-son (Robin), and one engagement (me) ago that I was making that thrice weekly drive.

What I really love about Baking Day is that I get to spend the whole day with amazing women that I don't get to see nearly enough any more. I think as we get older and our lives get more complicated and busy, it's important to have traditions like this, not just family traditions. I'm always sad when the Girls pack up to go back to Littleton at the end of Baking Day, but immediately start looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Losing her nose-ginity

To finish up our wild, hectic weekend...

I had promised Ashee-butt that when she turned sixteen she could get her nose pierced. So...she's sixteen on the 13th and I took her to get it done on Sunday. The piercer that I wanted to do it was off, so we wandered from tattoo shop to tattoo shop until we found a place that would do a minor with her parent's consent. $65.00 and one hole in the head later, I had a happy daughter (even if her eye was still leaking a bit - so were mine - it was a heck of a hit to the wallet).

Christmas Caravan for Kids

What A Weekend!
Busy, busy, busy…Wow! Not quite sure where to start with my non-weekend. RockCrawlinChef and I had been planning for over a month now to join the Christmas Caravan for Kids to benefit the Marines’ Toys for Tots program, so I guess I’ll start there…

Friday night, late…
We had actually planned on picking up the trailer on Thursday night, but Mother Nature wasn’t on our side at all with all of the snow and ice on the road. RCC finally got home from the shuttle, grabbed something to eat, checked his email and we were off to his parents’ house to pick up Tinkerbell’s trailer. We got an early start, about 9:30 pm. We knew that the trailer lights weren’t working from when we brought Tink home, so our first stop was WalMart to pick up some emergency trailer lights, which we found (hallelujah!) and hoped we wouldn’t have to do too much wiring in the dark. We got lucky and found temporary magnetic tow lights that we just had to plug into the truck’s wiring and the lights would attach to the trailer magnetically. Whew! At least we knew we’d be legal (sort of – still haven’t gotten the trailer registered) to tow Tink to the fairgrounds.

Once we got to Johnstown to pick up the trailer it was good and cold and dark. We managed to snap the bolt that holds the crank handle on while we were trying to crank up the trailer foot, but RCC’s dad is a rock star and had a whole bucket of bolts that we dug through until we found a replacement. We got the trailer hooked up to the truck and pulled it out into the cul-de-sac to attach our make-shift lights only to find out that the cord was about four feet too short! Ugh! With a flash of brilliance, we found that we could attach the trailer lights underneath the trailer near the original lights, run the cord up and over the axle and along the support beams and get plugged in – barely. There wasn’t much slack for things like turning or raising the front of the trailer. After some fine-tuning, we managed to get enough slack and still have visible lights. Our fingers and toes were damn cold, nearly frozen, but we did it (and I didn’t even whine too much about being cold) and were on our way home at midnight or so. I think we finally got parked and into bed about 1:00 am. Just a few hours to grab some sleep before we had to load the girl and get goin’!

Saturday morning, early…
The alarm went off and RCC was out of bed like a shot. I’m not sure he got any sleep – he was like a kid on Christmas Eve, just laying in bed marking time until it was late enough to get up. I, however, took my sweet time getting out of bed – four and a half hours is just not enough for me! Of course, we were so organized, we didn’t have Tink actually running and there were a couple of things, minor of course, that needed to be done. Things like putting gas stabilizer in her fuel cell, along with some, you know, fuel and hooking up a battery. We stole the battery out of our Toyota Celica in hopes that it would have enough cold cranking amps to turn her over. We were wrong. She tried, but there just wasn’t enough juice in the little Toyota battery to turn over her bad-ass Chevy engine. Yikes, quarter ‘til seven and we don’t even have her started! Off to WalMart for a new battery. RCC was taking this all in stride – I think I was more stressed than he was at that point. Ten after seven and he’s installed the new battery, I’ve sprayed starter fluid in her air filter and we’re ready to give her a go. And…success! She started, reluctantly, but she did start. While RCC babied her and tried to coax her into idling, I got the trailer ready. I’m sure my neighbors appreciated hearing me drive the trailer pin out with a sledge hammer shortly after sunrise. They surely appreciated it as much as listening to RCC rev Tink’s engine while trying to warm up her engine.

I was a bit nervous about loading her since it took three of us to get her loaded when we brought her home, now it was just me at O’God thirty. Loading went beautifully and we were off, only thirty minutes or so behind schedule! Did I mention that it was only in the single-digits weather-wise while we were doing all of this? We had to actually scoop the snow off of Tinkerbell before we started on anything.

We still needed to stop and get more fuel for both The Bitch and Tinkerbell, but thought we’d decide on the way which gas station to stop at. The Caravan was leaving the Cracker Barrel at 8:00 am and heading over to the park-and-ride at Berthoud for line up there. Because of our late start, we by-passed the Cracker Barrel and fueled up at the Johnstown exit, choosing to meet up with the Caravan in Berthoud. Putting fuel in Tink was quite a chore – RCC had to climb up on to her like a monkey and reach down as far as he could while I stood on tippy-toes, reaching up as high as I could to hand up the gas nozzle. She’s tall anyway, but then we put her on the trailer and she became damn massive! I’m sure we put on quite a show.

The meet-up in Berthoud was impressive, I thought, for being early on a Saturday morning in December and still in the single-digits. Once we got organized in Berthoud, we headed off to Longmont to meet up with the last group from Northern Colorado. All told, we had twenty or so 4-wheel vehicles in the Caravan from Longmont to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

The ride down was uneventful, but a lot of fun. I love seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see Tinkerbell on the trailer, towering over The Bitch. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of kids still talking about the monster truck they saw on the highway Saturday. When we pulled onto the Jeffco grounds, we were waved out of line and directed to a place where we could park and unload Tink. I think the most fun I had all day was climbing up into her and re-joining the line of 4-wheelers and off-roaders to hand off our toys to the Marines. The looks on the Marines’ faces were priceless when they saw us coming and a couple of them insisted that we “ramp” her – that is, put her up on the RTI (Ramp Travel Index) ramp to test the flexibility of her suspension.

Well RCC, indeed, ramped her and scored a 913, winning the ramp competition. When a truck is ramped, the driver drives one tire up onto the ramp and continues up the ramp until one of the other three tires comes off the ground. At that point a measurement is made and plugged into a chart along with the wheel-base measurement to come up with the score. Tinkerbell maxed out the ramp – she made it to the top and could have continued another few inches before leaving the ground, but the ramp was too short. It’s kind of scary watching the trucks on the ramp because the cab tips so far over in some cases that it looks like the whole vehicle is going to roll over. I guess occasionally they do tip over.

We spent the afternoon, which had warmed up beautifully, wandering around looking at all of the other vehicles and watching the Marines’ 7-ton trucks get filled up (we filled two with toys). It was a blast and I can’t wait until next year’s Christmas Caravan.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More "Firsts"...

RockCrawlinChef's youngest brother just turned 10 on Sunday and as I was thinking about it, I experienced a few "firsts" during his party...
  • First time I've ever seen balloons blown up and used as masks...
  • First time I've ever had a future brother-in-law who is younger than my youngest child (wow)...
  • First time I've ever attempted to play a game on Wii (scary)...
I also realized that there are a few life lessons I could learn from him...
  1. If you're not hungry, don't eat (could be part of the reason he's so skinny - I might try it)
  2. Play (probably another part of the reason he's so skinny - I really should try it)
  3. Do everything with gusto (hmmm...)
So even though I felt rather old, I tried something new (Wii - scary) and laughed a lot.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Our "First" Thanksgiving




RockCrawlinChef and I have had a lot of "Firsts" together in the last eight months, but this is one I'd been looking forward to for a long time - our "First" Thanksgiving. Let me tell you, it was everything I'd imagined it would be and then some. The timing between meals worked out perfectly; my family's dinner early in the afternoon and RCC's family's late evening...it was perfect. We're talking about hosting dinner next year with the families combined - should be interesting! Thanksgiving went so well, I'm ready to take on Christmas!

I've always had a lot to be thankful for, but this year I seem to be extra blessed. Just a few of the things I'm thankful for:

  • My family, old and new. I'm surrounded by wonderful, pure-hearted people who improve others' lives just by being around.



  • RockCrawlinChef - I don't know how I managed to survive so many years without his love and support; he is the perfect balance for me.



  • The Heathi: Digger - even though he's a teenager and occassionally makes me absolutely ape-shit, he is a good kid with a good heart who doesn't deserve the shit he has to live with every day with his disease. Ashee-butt - she stresses herself to the max trying to be the peace-keeper between everyone and usually succeeds. I just wish she didn't feel the need to take on that responsibility. Must be a second-child thing. She's smart, beautiful and can think for herself (which can cause conflict on occassion) and I'm so proud of her. Monster - Ugh! Another teenager, but, again, one who is a good kid with a good heart who can make less-than-satisfactory choices. I wouldn't be who I am without The Heathi and even though I threaten to kill each and every one of them on a daily basis, I couldn't live without them in my life. I'm so unbelievably proud of the people they are all becoming.



  • I'm thankful that, although Monster and Ashee-butt couldn't be with us, they were together in Arizona. I think it's especially important that Monster have his ally with him during the holiday. He's never been without his siblings, and even though he's down there with his dad, step-mom and half-sister, it's not the same as having the people you've depended on your whole life.



  • My friends, who are also wonderful, pure-hearted people who have greatly enriched my life.



  • My life, which has, after years of struggle, has taken a big turn for the better and continues to improve every day thanks to my family and friends. I've had so many opportunities this year that I've not had in the past and I intend to take full advantage of all of them!
  • Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    A Girl and Her Gun

    Last night I watched one of my favorite movies, The Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg (my, has he grown up nicely!) which always reminds me of my dear friend and fellow Gun Diva, Tara Janzen. Tara and I have been shooting buddies since I helped teach a firearms class she was taking for research seven or eight books ago (it's been awhile). The movie always reminds me of when we were learning to shoot long-range, 1,000 yards, after she built "Kid's" sniper rifle. I would swear that the original Bad Boy who taught us to shoot long-range was a technical advisor for the film, as some of the phrases are straight out of his mouth. Each time I hear, "Slow is smooth; smooth is fast" I hear it in his voice, not Wahlberg's.

    Although I love the movie there are just a couple of things about it that make me absolutely insane. First, the minute your head comes up off the rifle, the lens covers go down. Should be automatic. If not, that's 10 push-ups :) Tara and I only had to do a few before we remembered to flip the lens covers down. Second, while Wahlberg handles his weapons well, he's missing the connection with the weapon. I would not have even noticed had I not seen someone develop that connection and it makes all the difference in the world.

    I was at the range with Tara and the Bad Boy getting ready for an upcoming match when I got the best gift in the world; I got to witness, first-hand, the connection being made. There is something absolutely wonderous and magical when a shooter and her rifle become one. Tara had been shooting and took a break so I could shoot. When she laid down with her rifle the next time she just breathed herself onto it. Between one breath and the next she and her rifle joined; they were no longer two discrete critters, but one living, breathing unit. It took my breath away to see the birth of Tara the Shooter. Before, she had been Tara who shoots.

    That was a couple of years ago and I can still close my eyes, see the range, watch Tara lay down behind her rifle, take a breath, lay her cheek against the stock, exhale and become one with her rifle. I've been lucky enough to witness this a couple of times with her and each time it takes my breath away; it is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    I Miss My Monster!

    Ugh! I thought packing Monster off to live with his dad was hard last week when it actually happened, and I know it's the right thing to do (at least right now), but I miss my Monster! Even though his teenage hormones made him almost impossible to live with at times, his amazing sense of humor and quick wit always kept the house lively.



    This is one of my favorite pictures of him...he was so tired he fell asleep eating dinner.
    I miss him terribly and hope that everything works out okay for him in Arizona.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done


    Today is Monster's last day in Fort Collins. At 4:00 am tomorrow he loads up with Jim's mother-in-law to move to Arizona. He decided weeks ago that he was "screwing up" too much here, that he needed a "fresh start", and that that "fresh start" would work best in Arizona where he doesn't know anyone; can make new friends and start at a new school. I tried and tried to talk him out of it, but he truly believed that it was the best move for him so I resigned myself to his decision.

    He tried to change his mind this weekend, but after weeks of being told that he knew what he was doing, I'm making him stick with his original decision. He's right, he has screwed up - BIG TIME - here and he's not willing to make the changes it would take to straighten his life here up. I'm not convinced that he'll make the changes necessary in Arizona, either, but I've got to give him the chance to try.

    Now that I won't let him change his mind, I'm "making" him go to Arizona. Isn't it amazing how the perspective changes? Last week, he couldn't get packed and out of my house fast enough, this week he acts like I'm throwing him out. It would be easy to cave and let him stay - for about a day - until he fell back into his old behavior patterns. Even though I know I'm doing the right thing, it is the hardest thing I've ever done.
    I love Monster to death and I honestly admire him for making this decision; it couldn't have been easy to decide to pack up and leave eveything he knows to move to a place where he only knows his dad, step-mom and sister. It takes a lot of cajones that I'm not sure I have. If this is hard for me, it's got to be twice a hard for him.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Now the REAL nightmare begins...

    Whew! I thought that the worst part of Monster's accident was, well, the accident. Hmmmm...was I wrong.

    Last week as I was heading to the orthopaedist for Monster's follow up I received a voicemail from the owner of the car that hit him asking for insurance information. Since I was busy, I kind of blew it off, knowing that the important people (the hospital, the police, etc.) had all of the insurance information. When I got home from working for Mom at her B&B (http://www.allensparklodge.com/) this past weekend, I was greeted by a letter from the owner of the car seeking my Homeowner's or Renter's insurance.

    No citations were issued in the accident, therefore no fault was assigned, so I was perplexed by his request. Turns out the owner of the car is not only a SOB, but he's also a personal injury attorney (kind of redundant, huh?) and by requesting my Renter's insurance (not that I have any) he tried to "trick" me into admitting that Monster was at fault in the accident and wanted my non-existent Renter's insurance to pay for the damages to his car. Not happening. No citations issued. No fault assigned. I'm not paying.

    Wanting to make sure that I had all of my ducks in a row, I went to the police department to pick up a copy of the accident report and much to my dismay found it completely incorrect and incomplete. If whoever is in charge of accident reports was a student of mine in Medical Records, he/she would fail the class. We're talking legal documents, people! At least try to be accurate. And the icing on the cake - the written statement from the driver of the car is in TURKISH! The police department doesn't have an interpreter who can translate Turkish, so no one knows what the hell her written statement says.

    UGH!!! Keep posted for further nightmare developments...

    Saturday, November 8, 2008

    Deejo's Old Today!


    Happy Birthday Deejo!
    As your oldest sister, I thought to myself, "GunDiva, what could you possibly do to embarrass the hell out of Deejo on his birthday?" The answer was nothing. We've told all the embarrassing stories - you remember, the Easter dinner when it came out that you had stripped at amateur night at the Cow Palace (do you still have that green sequined thong?). Everybody already knows about your time as a guest of Sheriff Joe (can you eat peanut butter - or was it bologna - anymore?). So I guess that means I'll just have to share a couple of my "remember whens"...
    Remember when...
    ...you were a kid and tried to kill yourself on your bicycle? You'd just cleared a jump off the sidewalk, just to run smack-dab into the front of a parked car. I damn nearly peed myself laughing. I thought only cartoon characters molded themselves to the front ends of cars and then slowly melted off.
    ...you busted your nose at Rolland Moore park and Junior thought you'd died? He came home as fast as possible on his bike and ran into the house screaming "Deejo's dead! Deejo's dead!"
    ...you busted THREE of my ribs swing dancing? The Death Spin is just the name of the move, not really an invitation for you to kill me!
    ...your coolest older sister built you the most kick-ass shotgun ever, but you refused to let her put the SureFire fore-end light on because "it's too heavy"? Wuss. Your M16 was heavier than that little bitty shotgun I built you - what kind of Marine were you anyway?
    ...you took Mom to look at a Goat you wanted to buy and she almost made the salesman puke?
    There are lots and lots of "remember whens" - enough to fill a book - but I just wanted to let you know that we love you and we're thinking of you even though you up and moved away to Arizona.
    Happy birthday!

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Tinkerbell Moves Home


    This weekend wasn't all bad despite Monster's little "incident" on Thursday. RockCrawlinChef's baby, Tinkerbell, offered the perfect distraction after putting up with Monster's foul mood for two days. I've been in medicine in one form or another for twenty-two years and in that time I've learned something very important about myself...I can only dose out sympathy in 15-minute increments (about the length of an office visit). Anything more than that and it's pushing it. Twenty hours at Monster's bedside was waaaaayyyyy too much for both of us!

    While I was in the hospital with Monster on Friday, RCC spent the day at his parents' house working on Tink but was unable to get her running. His "baby" is a full-sized Chevy pick-up with lots of work to turn her into a rock crawler.

    I practically begged him to let me go with him on Saturday to keep working on her. I'm pretty sure Monster wasn't heart-broken either, he basically told me not to let the door hit me on the way out. He's as lousy a patient as I am full-time nursemaid.

    After tearing apart the carb (again!) and cleaning it (again!), he and his dad got her to fire up and run!!!! Tinkerbell hasn't been running for the past two years, so it was quite an accomplishment to get her fired up again. There is something to be said about a vehicle big enough for two grown men to sit in the engine compartment and work.

    Once she was warmed up, we loaded her onto the trailer to bring her home. Sounds simple, right? Drive the rock crawler up onto the flatbed trailer and away we go. Right. It took RCC driving and his dad and me spotting (one on each side) to load his little girl onto the trailer as she's just a touch wider than the trailer. I have to say, it's very disconcerting to look out the back window of his truck ("The Bitch"), which is a full-sized Dodge Ram, and not so little herself, and see nothing but giant truck looking back at you.

    Getting Tinkerbell settled into her new driveway was fairly simple compared to the production of loading. She is a LOT bigger than the garage and her roof is just slightly lower than the garage's roof, but she looks pretty good in the driveway - kinda like she owns the place. Ashee-butt now thinks she needs a 'crawler of her own (in addition to the crotch rocket and touring bike she already has on her list of "must haves"). The boys are kind of in awe of Tinkerbell but haven't said much about needing one of their own - thank goodness. As for me, I love the girl and can't wait 'til RCC teaches me to drive her and I can start snow bashing and tackling boulders of my own!

    The Day After...

    Finally, the election's over, the new president has been chosen, and all I feel is relief. I can't say I'm thrilled, nor disappointed, just relieved. I had gotten so sick and tired of all of the political crap that it was a CHORE for me to go vote - I'd become so numb to politics that I was apathetic about the election. Can't say that last night when I went to vote, I gave a damn either way. I must have, otherwise I wouldn't have hauled my apethic buns to the polls.

    Time will tell if we, the people, have chosen wisely or not. All I know is that I'm glad the damn thing is over and done with and I'm ready to move on and support my country under its new leadership. Good or bad, it's still my country and I love it!

    Thank you to all of the veterans who fought, and continue to fight, to keep our country free to make its own choices.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    A Mother's Worst Nightmare

    On Thursday, October 29th, I got the phone call every mother dreads..."Monster's been hit by a car." RockCrawlinChef, Digger and I were visiting Digger's girlfriend who had broken her arm badly when she peeled off bars a couple of days before when Ashee-butt finally got ahold of me to tell me that Monster was on his way to PVH via ambulance.
    Monster was attempting to cross a street in his aunt's neighborhood, had looked both ways and started across on his skateboard when - BLAM! - he was airborne. A woman driving a Prius had turned the corner and neither saw the other when they collided. According to Monster, the sound of his wheels on his skateboard was louder than the Prius and he never heard her coming. The driver was doing less than twenty miles an hour (Thank God) when she hit Monster, but she managed to knock him clean out of his sneakers. He dented the hood and broke the windshield with his elbow, fracturing his left humerus, then completed two flips as he rolled off the car. His elbow hitting the windshield is probably what saved him from severe head or back injuries.
    By the time Ashee-butt got ahold of us, he'd already been picked up by the ambulance and was on his way to PVH with his Aunt Terri, who saw the whole thing. Since Monster was supposed to have been on his way home from Terri's house, my first thought was that he was hit on Highway 287 and I was greatly relieved to find out he was hit in her neighborhood. The injuries would have been so much worse if he'd been hit on the highway where the speed limit is 55 mph.

    When we got to the hospital, the police officer met us and could not get over the fact that Monster was getting away with just a broken arm. According to the officer, he should have been almost dead judging from the damage done to the car. So for anyone who owns a Prius or is thinking about owning a Prius, just know that an 85# child can total your car at very low speeds.




    From the initial x-rays, we were pretty certain that Monster would require surgery to fix his arm, as it was severely displaced, and he was admitted over-night until we could get an orthopaedic consult. After a VERY long night on Peds, we finally got our ortho consult and got amazing news - he wouldn't need surgery after all to reduce the fracture! The ortho P.A. felt that his fracture could be reduced using a clam-shell type fracture splint and surgery wouldn't be necessary! I can't tell you how excited we were to get that news. Monster is a lousy patient and was already super grumpy over having been kept in the hospital over night. The thought of having to stay for surgery was almost more than any of us could bear - he may not have made it out of the hospital alive!

    We made it through, though, and he's back home where he's back to the old obnoxious Monster. He got very lucky and understands how lucky he is to have come away from his accident with nothing more than a broken arm and a small bit of road rash. Bet he looks two or three times before crossing the street next time!

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    Pajama Posse

    The Pajama Posse is a group of us gals who get together on occassion (not nearly as often as we would like) to just hang out. The Posse consists of Lynette, our free-spirited, sensual, pierced librarian; Kai, the red-headed dynamo who is almost impossible to keep up with; Oonah, the Zen Mama of the group, she exudes calm (most of the time); Story, the group's conscience (our version of Jiminy Cricket) and the minister's wife; Annie, Kai's mom who is a force to be reckoned with; and me, who knows the niche I fill in the group?



    Kai, in addition to being impossible to keep up with is also our boss and a phenomonal one at that; our beloved Story just left to travel with her husband for a year to help raise money to build a church here in Fort Collins. Story's leaving and Boss' Day just happened to give us the perfect excuse for a mid-day Pajamma Posse meeting, so we kidnapped Kai in the middle of the day and whisked her off for lunch and an afternoon of pampering.



    It was wonderful! Although I'm really sad that Story's now gone for a year, we had a great time at lunch and the pedicure afterward. I've never seen Kai sit still for so long - all it takes is someone massaging her legs and feet to get her to relax! I think she even propositioned the pedicurist!

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    A Glimpse at the Future - I like what I see

    This past weekend was the first time RockCrawlinChef had spent the weekend at my house. Despite being engaged, we still maintain two separate households. Taking on an entire family can be daunting and I'd rather we ease into it as much as possible. Maybe "ease" isn't the right word after this weekend.

    I scheduled a Drop-in Crop at the school for staff and students on Saturday, long before I knew it was Rocky's Homecoming, and, being the hostess, I couldn't ditch the crop to help out with the kids. I had asked RCC a few weeks ago if he would be willing to cook the kids' dinner rather than having them go out and he agreed readily. Not only did he cook dinner for Digger, Digger's girlfriend, and his friend, Haak, he took Monster to the skatepark and the mall, helped Ashee-butt with a last-minute dress adjustment and dropped the kids off at the dance. I've never had someone in my life so willing to help out and happy to spend time with the kids. It was good for all of us. In all fairness, my brother Junior was also a huge help; he picked up the kids and drove them all out to Ault to RCC's place for dinner. But Junior is my brother; until now, I always had to rely on my parents or siblings to help shuttle the kids around. It's an entirely new experience to have RCC embrace the role of step-dad so completely.

    This weekend wasn't all roses, it had its ups and downs. Any household with three teenagers will have that, but Jay weathered it like a pro, and having him around was a stabilizing influence for me and the kids.

    We're not married yet, and won't be for several months, but the kids have already started to refer to him as their step-dad and he proudly refers to them as his step-kids. After this weekend, any doubts I had about how well our "new" family would get along are gone. My biggest fear with merging our two households is not whether or not the kids and RCC will get along, but how well our dogs will get along...but that's a story for another time.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Sheepdogs

    A couple of years ago, when I was working at the gun shop, one of my regular customers referenced something he had read concerning "sheep and wolves"; the jist being that the majority of the public are sheep who live in denial and are more than willing to be lead to their deaths and there are wolves who are more than willing to eat the sheep so calmly lead to slaughter - the sheepdogs are the stop-gap. I looked everywhere for that article and no matter who I asked, all I got was a blank stare - no one had a clue what I was talking about. I began to think I was crazy (and maybe I am, just a little).

    Lynette, our amazing librarian, was looking for some books to add to the library collection and I suggested Gavin de Becker's series of books (The Gift of Fear, Protecting the Gift, and Fear Less), which are some of my all-time favorite books. Protecting the Gift is the book I give all new parents since it's got so many good, common-sense tips for protecting our children. When Lynette was ordering the books she came across a new book, Just 2 Seconds, by de Becker, et al. It was in this book that I finally found the reference to sheep and wolves that I'd been looking for so long ago.

    It's called "On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" by LTC (RET) Dave Grossman and after reading it, I realized that it is an exact description of the citizens of the U.S. I'm a Sheepdog, and, by God, I'm raising Sheepdogs!

    This will be a long post, but I think it's important for everyone to read this article, so bear with me please...

    On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman
    By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."

    Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
    One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:
    "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.
    Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.
    I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.
    "Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
    "Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."
    If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
    Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.
    But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
    Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."
    Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
    The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.
    Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?
    Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
    Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.
    There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.
    Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.
    Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

    There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

    Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.
    If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
    For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
    I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"
    Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.
    Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"
    It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
    Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
    Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling.
    Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level."
    And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
    "Baa."
    This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Gunpowder Therapy



    One of my favorite things in the world is Gunpowder Therapy...might have something to do with the nickname "GunDiva". There's nothing quite like the feeling of a controlled explosion in your hand to rid yourself of stress. For a long time, my favorite form of Gunpowder Therapy was the monthly defensive pistol matches at Northern Colorado Rod & Gun Club (http://www.ncrgc.org/). When I turned 32, my family pitched in and bought me a .40 cal Glock and I shot that thing for well over a year before getting a "big boys' gun", a Para-Ordnance LTC 1911 in .45 ACP. The monthly matches were "mine"; my way of blowing off steam and doing something that was just for me. Some women go to the spa for "me" time, I went to the gun range. Unfortunately, over the past year or so, finances dictated that I spend less and less time at the range. I still manage to make it out a couple of times a year to the matches, which makes my time at the range even more sacred.


    In April of this year, I did something that surprised me - actually shook me to the core - I invited RockCrawlinChef to join me at the match. We'd only just met face-to-face two weeks before the match but hit it off well and before I knew it, it just popped out, "you should come shoot the match with me." WTF? I never intended to share "my" matches with anyone. They were mine - those six hours on the range with my shooting buddies were sacred and I had invited someone I had just met. I must have lost my mind. What shook me even more is that I loved it! I loved sharing something that was just mine with RCC...it should have been a sign.

    I'm constantly surprised by the things that excite me and make me all sentimental-like (welcome to the softer side of the GunDiva). Things like getting ready for the match on Saturday night. Who would have thought that the mere act of cleaning our guns together would mean so much? It's silly, I know, but no one else has really been interested in my shooting; I was always the "expert" if I took anyone out, so I was the one cleaning the guns and getting everything ready. Saturday just illustrated to me what a great team we make and how much I do enjoy sharing my sacred matches with RCC.

    The match on Sunday wasn't my best, and in all honesty, I haven't been shooting well in a while - it's a very perishable skill and without constant practice it's pretty easy to lose the edge. However, getting to shoot with RCC and spend the day outside blowing shit up (except those damn bowling pins) was so relaxing. By the time we were done with the match I was sunburned but happy. Those controlled explosions really do bleed stress and having someone to share it with - pure bliss.


    Here's RCC shooting one of the stages. The instructions were to start with our toes and nose touching the wall (don't know what we did to deserve time-out) when the buzzer sounded we were to engage the targets on either side of the wall (two up close and two far away) without hitting the hostage, perform a mandatory reload with retention (don't drop the magazine), move to the door and shoot the bad guys on the way (no stopping), open the door and "slice the pie" (shoot the bad guys in the order you see them appear). All of this is timed and scored, so not only are you racing against the clock, but you must be accurate as well.

    New York Times' Best Seller!


    My dear friend and fellow Gun Diva, Tara Janzen, just released her 9th book in the Steele Street (CRAZY/LOOSE) series, which debuted #33 on the New York Times' Best Seller List! Yay, Tara! Check out her website, http://www.tarajanzen.com/, for more on her books and the kick-ass shotgun she built (Skeeter's Shotgun).

    Tara and I met a couple of years ago (about 6 books ago, I think) while I was helping teach a firearms class. We immediately hit it off and I absolutely adore her. Besides being an amazing human being, she's my favorite shooting buddy (sorry, RockCrawlinChef). Tara's one of the hardest working people I know and it's about time that she made the List! Honestly, she's one of the best authors around - she's got a way with words that I envy - and I'm so proud of her for this well-deserved honor.
    Congratulations Tara - the Heathi and I love you!

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?

    I just read an article about the "strife" caused over the vaccinate or don't vaccinate controversy. Seriously, are you kidding me? If you're worried about letting your kid play with an unvaccinated child because you're worried that your child might catch something, you're missing the whole point of vaccination. You vaccinate your child to protect them from the unvaccinated masses (OK, so there really aren't that many unvaccinated children out there). The children who are at risk are the unvaccinated children playing with other unvaccinated children; there are no stop-gaps in those play groups. And really, if you choose not to vaccinate your child, don't get all pissed off when your child gets sick. What did you expect? Honestly?

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    When did that happen?!?!?


    This morning as I was dropping Ashee-butt off at school, it hit me...she's not a little kid anymore. When did that happen? Just yesterday, I swear, she was "mustin' bustin' " at the Rooftop Rodeo in her little pigtails. And then it hit me again...none of the kids are kids anymore. Digger's turning 17 next week (17!!!!); I'm not old enough to have a kid who's almost old enough to vote.


    Logically, I know how it happened, but in my heart the Heathi are still my babies, not young adults who want to make their own decisions and have their own lives. Even the baby, Monster, isn't much of a baby. He's grown at least 4 inches over the summer, another couple of months and he'll be taller than I am (not that that's a feat by any stretch of the imagination!).


    Wow. Kinda makes me sad on one hand that they're growing up and won't need Mom much anymore, but on the other hand, I'm awful proud of the people they're becoming. Maybe all of the shouting, threatening and ocassional spanking is paying off.

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Yay! The kids are back in school!

    It seems really early for school to be starting, but it did and I'm so happy. Maybe now I can get on some sort of schedule (I say that every school year), but really I'm just happy that I know where my kids are supposed to be while I'm working. I'd like to say I know where they're at - but they are teenagers, so they're supposed to be in school and I want to believe that my children would never, ever ditch, but I wasn't born yesterday. Though, if I caught them ditching, I'd kill 'em. They know that. Hope the threat is enough :)

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    Vote for Julie!

    Heidi Nyland, Julie Goodnight's producer, is also an exceptional equine photographer and has had many of her photos published in major horse magazines. In fact, Heidi's the one who took the picture of me and Sundance (one of the livery horses) last summer that ended up in Trail Rider magazine. Heidi's also the one who chose me and Estes to be cast members on "Horse Master with Julie Goodnight".

    One of Heidi's photos of Julie and Julie's horse, Dually, is in the running for the October cover of Perfect Horse magazine. Perfect Horse magazine chooses their covers by reader vote. So...I've included the link to the survey so that we can all vote for Julie. I figure it's the least I can do for Heidi since she turned me into a magazine model and TV star!

    To vote (and it's unlimited voting) go to http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001OKrttuHNuHfq8VM5xUhe53_QzlEijLOPiV-A7PWF3MVzN_bdSqpuLRIxT3ji9rigt6xkskaHZ3EoU0h7sj6VaJs2xl4QheeazTtMkIO0NOQI72Yg6s8540Wuun1CRNUVs5aW6BieQtkhKti_DLyxrdKI9j0HQi4a and choose option #2.

    Vote lots!

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    My TV Debut


    Just finished watching "my" episode of Horse Master (http://www.horsemaster.tv/) and it wasn't too horrible. The worst part, as I knew, was my interview. I was thinking too hard. It was kind of fun to watch it, but I couldn't take my eyes off of my beautiful Estes. She's such an amazing animal! The cool part was knowing what was going on in the background, behind the scenes so to speak. Julie said Estes is a smart horse, but I think the divot above her left eye from not getting out of the way of a tree branch proves otherwise! Seriously, she's an awfully smart horse and it really did only take one correction from Julie and one from me to "cure" her. I've had her out on the trail since and not had a single problem with her walking off, even when I missed my mount (bareback) and fell on my arse beside her.

    If anyone gets a chance to watch it, let me know what you think. It'll replay on RFD-TV Thursday and Saturday nights and again in September. I believe that Julie will also put it on her YouTube channel after all five episodes have aired.

    Every Day's An Adventure!

    Last night, the kids all decided to spend the night at their friends' houses, so I treated myself to a sleep-over at RockCrawlinChef's.

    We were just getting settled into bed, talking (looking to do more than talk shortly) when suddenly RCC's eyes got big and he strangled out, "What the..." and kinda squealed like a girl then cussed some more before finally telling me there was a bat flying around the room. Since I was looking at him, I didn't see it fly in the bedroom, but sure enough when I looked there was a bat zooming around the bedroom swooping low over us (okay, it may not have been that low, but it seemed like it at the time!).

    It was painfully obvious by the fact that RCC had curled himself into the fetal position and covered himself with the sheet that I would have to be the hero, so I *bravely* pulled a shirt on and attempted to save him from the flying mouse. It's kinda hard to figure out how to get ahold of a flying animal when the apartment has 12 foot ceilings! I finally got a t-shirt and an extendable (is that a word?) duster to try to trap the damn beast. The problem was that he wouldn't stay trapped. Several times he let me drape the shirt over him while he clung to the wall several feet over my head, but when I tried to drag him down the wall the little bugger always managed to get away. I was just trying to trap him and drag him down low enough so that I could reach him to wrap him in the shirt and release him outside. He wouldn't cooperate. Little bastard. I was just trying to save his life.

    RCC let me try my humane (and obviously hilarious) way several times before he had enough and took matters into his own hands. Did you know that Swiffers make deadly baseball bats? Neither did I until RCC nailed the little bastard right out of the air and bounced him off the wall. He didn't actually kill him with the swing, but stunned him enough that I could wrap him up in the t-shirt to get him out of the house. Once we were out on the deck, I tried to shake him out of the shirt but he wouldn't come out (either terrified or dead) and in the process dropped the shirt off the balcony. Oops.

    We're not quite sure how he got into the apartment; we're absolutely sure he's no longer in the apartment, but not sure if he's dead or alive. Don't really care.

    So much for me being the hero; RCC had to save himself from the bat with the Swiffer. Do you suppose they'll add "Bat Killer" to the ads for Swiffer? Not only can you clean your floors, but you can also rid your house of those pesky flying mice!

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Wilson Family Luck

    We got back from Logan, Utah yesterday. The trip was definitely an adventure! We left Thursday night for the forever drive through Wyoming (surprisingly, it wasn't as horrible as I had imagined) into Utah. Initially, we had planned to stop in Wyoming and find a hotel room, but since the drive was going so well, my darling "driving machine" RockCrawlinChef decided we'd push through to Logan. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Until we got to Logan at 1:30 in the morning only to find that EVERY hotel/motel was booked full due to the Cache County Fair.

    No problem, just down the road a few miles is Brigham City, surely they'd have rooms. Ha! Apparently the fair had a bigger turn-out than usual. There wasn't a room for rent anywhere in Brigham City. Again, no problem. Just twenty miles down the road is Ogden. Certainly a city the size of Ogden would have even one room we could rent and puppy-pile in (there ended up being six of us on the trip).

    Double Ha! When I went in to the Best Western only to find that there were no rooms (we'd literally hit 10 or so places - every one in Logan and Brigham City), I finally asked why there weren't any rooms. Seems that there was a mudslide that closed Highway 6, an Outdoor Trade Show in Salt Lake, and all of the county fairs. There literally wasn't an open room ANYWHERE. But there was an open dirt lot that we were welcome to park in if we wanted to sleep in the car. Turns out that was the best offer of the night. Not wanting to believe the guy, we drove around for another hour, even stopping at rent-by-the-hour hotels (where we saw some seriously suspicious activity) in a vain attempt at finding a place to lay our weary heads. No go. At 4:30 in the morning we were back at the Best Western, parked in their dirt parking lot trying to get some sleep. Luckily, we took the Excursion which has plenty of room for five adults and one pint-sized kid to toss and turn and try to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

    After an hour and a half, we gave up and went for breakfast then headed to RockCrawlinChef's aunt's house, where we all crawled gratefully into bed and slept away the morning. The hotel thing could have been an absolute disaster, but was actually hilarious. We couldn't help but laugh at the whole thing. Even once we got sort of settled into "bed" in the Excursion we couldn't get to sleep because somebody (RCC) would start giggling and set us all off again. Honestly, it was the most fun I've had sleeping in a car!

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    It's almost time...

    Wednesday, August 13th is when my episode of Horse Master will air for the first time! I'm a bit nervous about it, but there's nothing I can do now :) I already know from the clip Julie posted on YouTube that I hate my interview; not much else can go wrong...unless they don't edit out me practially falling to the ground laughing because I couldn't get my damn foot in the stirrup. Just a quick note to anyone who may ever appear on a horse tv show - don't wear brand new Wranglers and expect to be able to mount up easily...break them in first. A lot of Estes' dancing around while I was trying to mount actually covered up the fact that I couldn't get my foot high enough to reach the damn stirrup. After I'd worn the jeans the rest of the day and stretched them out I didn't have a problem, but good god, that first take was ugly.

    It's also about time for me to meet RockCrawlinChef's family in Utah. We leave this afternoon with his mom  and sister for the seven-hour (seven day?) drive to Logan, Utah to meet his aunt and grandma. I'm a bit nervous about it, but I'm sure it'll be fine. After all, the one who needs to love me does and the rest is just icing on the cake! Wish me luck, though.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Equine Therapy is Good for the Soul(s)



    For the past few weeks, I've been fretting about Estes' club foot. She's been awfully stiff and sore and not wanting to do a whole heap - she just wasn't feeling well. I assumed that she was stiff and sore because I've got her barefoot and I thought that she was just tender-footed, so I called the ferrier to come fix my baby. Well, the ferrier didn't call back, and didn't call back, so I had my dear friend Kai (who besides being my boss is also a certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist) come up to the lodge and work on Estes on Sunday.

    What a huge difference! Estes had been gimping around, getting depressed, going off her feed and in general was just blah! After Kai spend some time massaging her, which Estes LOVED, and showing me some stretches, it was obvious that she already felt better. Her whole demeanor changed - and so does mine after a massage. Why didn't I think of this before?

    I talked to my mom on Monday and she said that Estes was moving without any limp and that she thought maybe we'd been way off base in assuming that her club foot was causing all of her problems. Seriously, I thought my mom was nuts, but I went up for a ride yesterday anyway.

    What a huge difference! My Estes, the one I fell in love with, the one who is a royal pain in the ass at times, is back!!! I believe Mom now - I don't think it was her foot at all, but the long trailer ride we had to get to Salida, which is when we first noticed her gimping around and it just gradually got worse. It was easy to assume that it was her club foot because that's her only physical problem and that's the side that tightened up and she was gimping on.

    It was good for both of us to go out for a short ride on the mountain and not worry about how her foot and shoulder were feeling. She's a totally different horse, and all it took was a little massage and stretching.
    Kai - you're a Rock Star!!! I can't thank you enough for giving me my horse back!

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Yes, it hurts!

    Some time in June I got a wild hair up my butt and decided I needed another tattoo. I swore after the 1st one I'd never get another; the first one was meaningful, and is continuing to serve its purpose, but I really had no desire for another one. Hmmm...that's what I thought. So I thought it over, and thought it over, and finally asked RockCrawlinChef to design one for me. I love his artwork and thought it would be amazing to have him be the one to design my next tattoo. I didn't give him any parameters, just asked him to design something that would suit me and he did. He drew an angel wrapped around a semi-automatic pistol - what more could a GunDiva ask for?



    I fell in love with the design and made an appointment with Erick at Tribal Rites to have it done...I had hoped to do it for my birthday in July, but couldn't get an appointment until yesterday. RCC and I went together and held each other's hands while we got permanently marked :) It was painful at times, but nothing too horrible, and it was a lot easier to handle it with someone there to take my mind off of it. At times I had to giggle, because RCC sounded so much like a birthing coach reminding me to breathe.

    I'm pretty sure it'll be my last tattoo, but that's what I said after the first one. Already, RCC's thinking about his next one. I think I'll let the memory of the pain fade first.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Engagement story...



    The weekend after I returned from Salida, the best thing I could have ever wished for happened...RockCrawlinChef  (RCC) proposed. I'm about a month late posting this, but here it is...


    While I was in Salida, Jim and Monster got into a huge fight and Jim kicked Monster out of the house. Luckily, Digger stayed at home and so Monster had someone at my place with him. Well, on Wednesday, RCC took the boys to dinner and took Monster to Jim's house to pick up his stuff. Saturday night Jim finally called to talk to me about what happened and, of course, his story about what had happened changed. RCC heard the conversation and got really quiet. When I asked him what was wrong he said that he wasn't sure it was the right decision to take Monster to Jim's house to pick up his stuff, especially after hearing the conversation between Jim and me. So we had this whole other conversation about never second guessing what your heart tells you is the right thing at the time.

    RCC was quiet and after a few minutes jumped out of bed (all of our major decisions have been made while naked) and my heart just sank. Those damn ghosts from the ex-boyfriend appear occasionally. He went to his dresser and looked at me and said, 'this is either the most appropriate or most inappropriate time, but...' I just KNEW he'd come to his senses and was going to break things off. I was absofuckinglutely terrified - my whole fairy tale romance was gone. I know that I had to have gone completely white just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And then it got worse, I could tell that he wanted to say something but couldn't. Christ, I was a mess. Once he opened his mouth, he said a bunch of stuff that I don't remember, but I do remember him returning to the side of the bed and getting down on one knee, opening the ring box, saying a few more things (blah, blah, blah, blah - the lips were moving, sound was coming out, but I have no freakin' clue what he was saying) and then finally getting to the good stuff, 'GunDiva, will you marry me?'

    Wow.

    180 degrees from what I was expecting! I cried like a little girl and I'm pretty sure I asked him repeatedly if he was sure and if this was for real. I couldn't even touch the ring for, like, 20 minutes. I was afraid if I touched it that it would disappear. Once it started to sink in, he put the ring on my finger (which fit perfectly - amazing since he really had no clue about my ring size) and I cried some more. We're not planning on getting married for a while (think next year), but I'm certainly loving the promotion from 'girlfriend' to 'fiance' (or is it 'fiancee'? I can never remember).

    Wow, huh?