Monthly Archives: October 2012

Love at First Shot: Ruger SP101

Last night was my kinda girls night out:  a group of smart, articulate women, a few glasses of wine and lots of firepower.  Not necessarily in that order. Meaning that the wine came after the firepower. Which was probably best.

The Girls at the Range

The October edition of Ladies’ Marksmanship Night was an especially fun evening for me, because I was getting to shoot my new Ruger SP101 for the first time.  This gun was my birthday present from Desperate Hubby for my 39th birthday a couple of months ago.  Shut up.  This is my blog and I will write what I want.

Anyhoooo, my beautiful new pistol had been sitting in it’s case for the past couple of months waiting for me to shoot it.  I would pull it out every week or so just to take a peek.  Because it is so beautiful.

Isn’t it?

Gun Right 1

From my very first shot I knew that it had been worth the wait.  For a relative newbie to the world of handguns the 101 was a very approachable firearm.  Ever since I loaded the clip of DH’s .45 with the bullets backwards at our last meet, I had been a little nervous about trying to perform the shooting routine on my own.

And by “on my own”, I mean without the patient guidance and helpful assistance of our shooting ringleader, Christine.  If you recall, Christine recently sailed into the sunset with her beautiful family for a year or two, and left our shooting group to our own devices.

So, from the get-go I was hoping for ease and simplicity in my new pistol.  Which was exactly what it delivered.  Operation of the gun was straightforward (i.e.: the bullets won’t even go in backwards) and sighting is a breeze with the easy-to-see green infrared sight.  That doesn’t make sense. ” Green infrared,” I mean.  But it’s what the box says.

I first shot a couple of cylinders of the .38 shells DH had packed for me, and I was thrilled.  The gun hardly kicked at all, no more than a .22 revolver, and the grip size was just perfect for my hand. Then I gave the gun to Tawny, the only member of our group brave enough to weather the high-caliber side of the range with me, and she shot some .38’s.  She loved the pistol too.

Next I ran a cylinder of the .357’s through the gun, and while those had a little more percussion to them the gun was still very manageable, and my pattern was no larger than I had shot with the .38’s.

I was pretty happy with my target by the time I was finished.

Target

When the range master had to come to help Tawny un-jam her 9 mm during our session (we miss you Christine!) he looked at my pistol and asked if it was the 101. When I told him yes, he said “Oh, I LOVE that gun!”

The other girls all joined us just before the range closed, and everyone got to shoot the gun at least once.  The gals all liked the feel of the gun, and even the usual .22 shooters were surprised by the lack of kick.

The real clincher was when Tawny announced that she wanted an SP101 for Christmas.  She was converted.  I hope Santa doesn’t let you down Tawny!

After we were finished shooting we all retired to Rudy’s Lounge for a little snack and a glass (or two in my case.  Shut up.) of wine.  We were joined there by our interim leader, Valerie, who had missed the shooting but was happy to be able to join us for the social hour.

We had the waitress take a really bad picture of us.

Girls at the Bar

Someday I’m really going to have to read the instructions for my camera.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a last picture of my beautiful new gun, as well as a hearty recommendation to try the Ruger if you are in the market for a personal protection weapon or even just something to go shoot at the range.  You can’t go wrong with the SP101.

Beautiful Gun

Happy shooting everyone!

Categories: Life in the Country, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Get Well Thoughts for Chic

While an epic recovery effort begins today in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, and my fervent thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by that natural disaster, a very personal epic recovery effort is also underway right here in our own backyard, in a warm and comfy stall at the top equine veterinarian hospital in the northwest.

One of the world’s great ones needs your positive thoughts, wishes and prayers right now.

If you have read my blog before, you have probably already heard of Smart Chic Dot Com, or “Chic” as he is affectionately known.  Annabelle has had the great honor of riding and showing Chic since early spring in both the local reining shows and the Gem State Stock Horse Association series held in Ontario, Oregon.

Through her association with Chic my little girl has progressed leaps and bounds in her riding ability, and has had the rare opportunity to learn to show a horse that can truly teach her what it is “supposed to feel like” – whether it is in a fast rundown to a long sliding stop, a spinning blur of a turnaround, or working a cow for the very first time at the feedlot cutting practice.

Kissing Chic

Through this all, Chic has taken care of my baby with a dedication rarely seen between horse and rider. My beautiful daughter has loved horses since she first rode Lucy with me at the age of three months, and with that love she has developed a completely fearless attitude toward the creatures. While that attitude makes her a game competitor and lets her progress quickly in her lessons, it also scares the heck out of me most of the time. From her six-year-old standpoint, she has no concept of the danger of running a horse full blast down the pen or digging the spurs in to make sure she turns the cow before it gets past her on the fence. Although I have been judicious in my choice of mounts for my precious first-born, she has managed to be bucked off or yard-darted more times than I can count, and it is only good fortune that has kept her from ever incurring serious injury.

kg Thats a Big Move

Showing a horse adds a whole new element of both excitement and danger to a child’s riding career. In a normal circumstance, an adult (usually me) is right next to the kid and in a position to, if not negate, at least temper any potential bad event that might occur. In a horse show, it is only kid and horse, 45 pounds of exuberance and six-inch pink spurs riding hell-bent for leather on a 1,200 pound missile.

Chic has taken care of Annabelle every step of the way. Although he could easily take advantage of her inexperience and lack of strength, he patiently waits for her to be ready for he next gear before he steps it up. With her riding him, I have never had a moment’s pause sending her in that in-gate to careen around a 100,000 square foot area as fast as she can possibly make him go.

Great Stop

There are lots of horses that are good with kids, and Chic is certainly not the first to take care of his tiny charge in the show pen.  What makes Chic unique, though, is that he is also an intrepid competitor in reined cow horse competition at the open rider level.  Chic started his career in the National Reined Cow Horse Association by qualifying for the non-pro finals at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity, and went on to win over $26,000 in limited-age events with his breeder and first owner Annie Reynolds Jones.

My friend Kris bought Chic when he was a seven-year old to pursue her lifelong dream of competing on the national level in the reined cow horse events.  Chic was her dream horse before he ever came into Annabelle’s life, and Kris has won so many honors riding this great boy that I bet even she has lost count.

Chic reached the pinnacle of NRCHA competition when he became the 2011 World Champion Ltd. Open Bridle Horse, beating out an impressive field of competitors and simultaneously ending the year with a 5th Place World finish in the 5K Non-Pro Ltd. class with Kris aboard.  Chic showed in two preliminary runs and two finals over the course of the week-long championship show, not to mention numerous practices and warm up runs, and he gave his all on each and every time out.   To date, he has amassed an impressive  lifetime earnings total of over $50,000.

Chic’s heart is as big as the state of Texas, and it is that coupled with his huge amount of talent, drive and courage that makes him a true champion in ways that far outnumber his impressive resume.

He loves kids too.

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Chic is in the hospital right now battling the aftermath of a rare joint infection that has potentially grave ramifications.  He is approaching this challenge with the same equanimity he has shown every time I have ever seen him; calmly and without bitterness or bad temper, but Chic is hurting.

We have been to see Chic several times over the weeks of his hospitalization, and he is always sweet and seems happy to see his little girl.  Annabelle took some stall decorations and cookies to Chic when he first went into the hospital, and it was great to see them spend a few minutes together.

Stall Front All Decorated

We’ve been back since then to add more pictures and feed more cookies. Chic always seems delighted for the company.  And the cookies.

Stall Front New Pics

An x-ray today discovered that Chic has a bone cyst which formed on the previously infected coffin joint, and this is causing him much pain right now. The doctors have a plan of attack to treat the cyst, and that plan will be implemented over the next couple of weeks. The success of those treatments will determine Chic’s future.

Chic was on the brink of potentially earning yet another World Championship title, this time at the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma City, where he was supposed to be heading with Kris next week.  Now, we want nothing more than to just see Chic go home and hang out in the pasture with his girls, munching on grass, taking long naps, and doing absolutely nothing. Of all the horses on earth, he has earned that right.

So whether you pray, meditate, chant, or just think good thoughts, please send some positive energy Chic’s way.  He deserves to go home.

Look at that eye

Get well soon Chic.

Categories: Uncategorized | 7 Comments

To Blog or Not to Blog……

there really is no question. 

For six blissful months, up until about a month ago, I considered myself an intrepid blogger.  Three, four or five days a week I would write about my life as a mom, horse lover, and corporate expat.  I love to blog.  It gives me a place to express the multitude of inane, inconsequential, inappropriate and sometimes inept thoughts that race through my mind hundreds of times each day.  More importantly, the blog is a way to record the precious moments of life; cementing both the profound and mundane memories that are made in daily living.

About a month ago I embarked on a new phase of motherhood:  mom and chauffer of a kindergartner.  This small shift in my schedule has changed my life dramatically.  I once rose at about 6:00 a.m. and sat in my quiet office drinking coffee and blogging or writing something or other for the two hours until the kids got up and it was time to begin our family day. 

I still get up at six.  But now my mornings start with a hurried shower followed by rousing my sleeping kids from their peaceful slumber, force feeding them waffles and oatmeal and then embarking on a rapidly escalating rush to find an unwrinkled khaki skort and two matching knee socks.

Despite the fact that we live less than two miles from Annabelle’s school, we generally pull screeching into the parking lot with 30 seconds to spare before the final bell, weaving our way through the other parents lined up in cars to drop their kids off,  and sprinting for the playground so that my girl can line up with her classmates to enter the hallway in an orderly row. 

Almost as if she were there on time.

I hug Annabelle and say “Have a good day honey.  I love you.  Now run!”  Then I turn around and walk calmly back to my car, nonchalantly kicking the back door shut as I pass.

The rest of my day should be bliss.  I drop Batman off at pre-school and have a solid six hours before I need to reverse my route and pick them up again.  Time to grocery shop, do laundry, catch up with friends, work on the company books.  Even perchance to blog.

But wait – I have only managed to blog once in the last month.  I find it such an odd juxtaposition that my new schedule, which should clearly give me flexibility and tons of spare time has constricted my life so much.  Can that be?

Well, it is.  Despite the luxury of my newly regular schedule and predictable routine I have found it difficult to adapt and find time to do what I really want to do:  clean my closets, ride my horses, go to the gym. 

And blog.

I have missed my blog terribly.  I have heard from my faithful readers asking where I have been.  They both emailed in one day, even.

So I am re-committing myself to my blog.  I don’t know when I will find time to write. Maybe at 5:00 a.m. or at 9:00 p.m., but write I will.  I have tons of pent up stories that I don’t want to lose, from  Annabelle’s Amazing 6th Birthday Party to watching wild horse herds in the Hard Trigger Management area; Batman’s recent obsession with drawing orange tigers to my re-entry into the horse show world. I promise myself that I will record these and the other notable entries into the record of our lives, to be laughed at, cried about and savored later.

Welcome back to me.

Riding Owyhees

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Happy Birthday to Desperate Hubby

Today is my beloved husband Greg’s birthday.  It is a BIG birthday.  I promised him I would not publicly say how old he is turning.  But it rhymes with nifty.

I met Desperate Hubby a little over thirteen years ago.  A year into my life as a re-minted Idaho resident, I was sitting on my back porch on a sweltering August afternoon drinking a nice cold glass of Robert Mondavi Special Release Fume Blanc (it is easy to remember the details of the big moments in life, don’t you think?).

My good friends Tami and Larry arrived for a barbecue……with a handsome stranger in tow.  Greg walked up on the back porch, and before he introduced himself to me (or even really acknowledged my presence) he grabbed the jowls of one of the scruffy dogs adorning my gray Trex deck and lowered his head.  Making a silly little smooching sound he gently shook the dogs face from to side to side and said “Now what kind of pooch are you exactly?”

That was it for me.  As I am fond of saying, he walked up on the porch that afternoon and basically never left.  From the very beginning there was something different about our relationship.  Greg was funny and smart, and though it sounds kind of boring (which he definitely isn’t) I knew he was reliable.  After thirty-five years of life on my own I had finally found a partner that I knew would be there for the rest of my days.

The years haven’t always been easy.  We have weathered many challenges together: dramatic financial reversals and grievous injuries; death of family members and the heartbreak of miscarriage.  Through it all we have remained a team, supporting each other when we need it most, and not hesitating to give each other a good swift kick when that was what was required.

Although it sounds so cliché, our relationship is based on a mutual respect for each other as individuals.  Marrying in my latter thirties was a major adjustment for me, but in a good way. For the first time in my adult life I had someone on my side who cheered me on in my own endeavors, even if they held little interest for him.

DH has nurtured and supported my horse habit all these years.  Though he would rather have a root canal than actually sit through a horse show, he listens patiently while I jabber about lead changes, sliding stops, turn-arounds and whether my horse goes better in a twisted wire, mini-correction or the big S-shanked Balding bit I used to use on Daz (another horse that he also didn’t care much about).

If your eyes are glazing over after reading that last sentence then you get the drift of what DH puts up with, and convincingly seems to actually pay attention to.

Desperate Hubby is somewhat of a renaissance man.  He’s an awesome cook, and never have I returned from an out-of-town trip or even a day in the foothills that I didn’t find a thoughtfully planned dinner waiting for me.  His dinner parties are coveted for his phenomenal ability to flawlessly cook any kind of steak.  DH has played in a rock and roll band for over twenty years, and still practices his guitar with the dedication of a brand new student.

Shortly after we met, Greg decided to pursue his long-time dream of attaining his private pilot’s license.  The focus and determination he applied to that endeavor was nothing short of amazing, and he has flown as much as he possibly can through the ensuing years.  I wish I could have gotten him a brand new Cessna 182 to celebrate this milestone birthday.  Maybe next year.

When Greg and I met, I instantly became part-time mom to three wonderful girls, Hali, Hana and Sami.  I love those girls beyond measure, and it has been a real honor to play a small role in their lives and watch them become the truly amazing young adults they are now.

After six years of marriage, DH and I were blessed to welcome Annabelle into our family, and 18 months later our little tribe was made complete by Zach (more commonly known on this blog as Batman).  Raising children together is a challenge and a joy that can really test the strength of a couple’s commitment, and though we were a strong team before having the kids, I really believe that the nuances of balancing child-rearing and a new business and horses and band and all the other messy bits of life has made us even stronger.

Our relationship is also strengthened by the element of surprise.  Not the kind where you meet him at the door at lunchtime wrapped only in Saran Wrap (sorry for the visual, everybody.  And no I’ve never done that.) But the kind of surprise where you are trying to get the kids to bed and they don’t want to go.  It is nearly an hour past their bedtime and kindergarten looms the next morning.  Both kids are crying but you finally get them in their jammies and headed toward the new bunk beds, when suddenly Batman accidentally pulls the leg off of his deeply revered new latexy-squishy lifelike-looking toy frog.  The body of the frog starts leaking tiny black beads everywhere and Batman is completely FREAKING OUT.  You try to get him to put it in a baggy and tell him we’ll fix it in the morning. He is having none of it.  Annabelle starts crying harder, wailing that she needs to get to sleep right now and can’t you make Zach be quiet.

You try desperately to keep your cool and figure out how to calm Batman down.  Suddenly you hear the unmistakable sound of DH’s recliner footstool slamming down.  You know that DH has had a really long day too, and he is ready for some peace and quiet, but the last thing you need is for him to come in and try to force Batman to go to bed, which you know will only add to the chaos.  You sigh and try to fight back your own tears.

This is where the element of surprise comes in.  Instead of charging into the room and trying to forcefully impose order and quiet (which would be expected, completely understandable and ultimately effective) DH walks quietly through the door and kneels down by the red-faced hiccupping Batman.  He takes the tiny hand that is holding the broken frog and says “What happened buddy?  You broke your frog? That’s OK. Bring him out here and we’ll find some glue and fix his leg.  Quiet down now so sissy can go to sleep, okay bud?” Batman instantly stops crying and follows daddy out the door, where daddy spends the next forty-five minutes painstakingly gluing the leg back on the stupid frog instead of playing his guitar in the garage as he had planned.

That is the kind of surprise that makes a marriage stronger.

Happy birthday hon.  I’m glad you’re in my camp.

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