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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kansas Concealed Carry Handgun

What a weekend!  Sometimes, I feel like I can hardly get anything done with the whirlwind I get caught up in.  I know it's all by choice, and I could simply stay home and get stuff done there, but I'd much rather get up and go!

Saturday, I hit the road before sun up and was well on my way to the countryside when I spotted the sunrise over the lazy hills on the way to Holden, MO where I was to take a course in concealed carry for handguns.  I have hardly ever handed firearms before and I think it is a good idea to understand what to know how to safely handle and use firearms.  If the situation ever arose where I would need to protect myself, I'd rather be in the know.  Kind of going along with the phrase of "better to have and not need, than to not have and need."  So I made my way over to the ranch where Marksman Firearms ( was located, out in the relative boonies of Missouri for this city slicker.

Mind you, I've only fired a gun at one time - out in L.A., my buddy Charlie and I went to a gun range and rented out a Glock pistol for about an hour.  Charlie's a guy knowledgeable about guns - he's grown up around them, his father was in the Army, and he's a bit of a reformed redneck.  Not that's a bad thing, just when I first met him in college, I had no idea he had the kind of streak in him that compelled people to drive out to the woods, spend days camping out, and bringing home deer and other forms of wildlife in the back of a truck.  He's now a schoolteacher in a rather upscale suburb of the Los Angeles area, and well respected in the community that doesn't take well to things like guns in their neighborhoods.

Anyway, I like school, and I like learning, so this was going to be an education for me.  Tom Echerd and Kim Becker, experienced firearms guys and partners in the business, were absolutely fabulous about drilling safety and knowledge into us, and doing it in a way that was accessible and clear.  I learned about protecting myself without a gun, being aware of my surroundings and my safety, and then understanding that if there's absolutely no other way out, then as a last resort take action to eliminate threats to my immediate safety via a firearm.  After doing some testing and qualification to pass the concealed carry certification, we got to actually experience shooting different guns to get the feel of what to expect when you may have to pull the trigger.

All in all, I feel safer and have a greater appreciation for both sides of the debate on gun control and gun advocacy.  I am responsible for my own safety when I'm at home and when I'm out and about, from downtown to the suburbs to the country.  I always try to be aware of my surroundings, and hesitate to go places where I'm uncomfortable with the level of risk to crime that I could be exposed to.  Even in the safest of places, I could be at danger at any time.  I think it's smart to make sure I have all my options available to me at any time, and I think getting the Concealed Carry Handgun certification will be just another thing I can use to keep myself and my family safe when I need it.  I hope I'll never have to use it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicken n' fries!

Yummy goodness.  It's considered a Southern delicacy to eat some chick'n fries (or so I've heard), or more concisely, fried chicken and french fries with maybe some coleslaw on the side.  Now, that's not such a great gluten-free meal, so tonight I'm making my own Dennis version of the meal - succulent roasted chicken breasts and crispy baked waffle-cut fries, smothered with some tasty gluten-free BBQ sauce and a side of buttery mixed veggies.  Heck, I'm hungry for seconds now!

Cooking food is one of my great joys - it used to be that I absolutely hated it, wouldn't spend more than a minute to get something to eat, or else it was just way too much work.  While I'm not yet at the point where I'll slave away for hours to make a meal, I'm seriously planning to execute a Once-A-Month-Mom meal plan.  Looks like I will be spending my October 30th in the kitchen!  In the meantime, I'm gonna be reading everything I can about how to manage that "day in the kitchen" since I don't know how to manage to cook an entire month's worth of food at a time.  Gotta start somewhere!

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to making this a good week - a friend is having her house warming party on Saturday, I'll be finishing a major work project, and hopefully write a letter or two to send internationally.  Oh, yeah, and fix my freezin' furnace.  Winter is coming, isn't it?  Glad I got the gas leak fixed back in July - it's now October, I think I've put that off as long as I could!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Good times, good friends

It was awesome getting out last night and visiting with 3 buddies, one from out of town, and enjoying some good eats at Houlihan's last night.  It's been a while since I've had a good joke-fest so that was a great time.  How many times can you hear and forget the same joke over a lifetime, and still completely forget it by the next time you hear it?

Thank goodness for the weekend, there's so much catching up I need to do.  I've got to clean out my garage, tidy up my front yard, and cook my meals for the week.  I got disrupted when I found 2 full-sized wasps in my house and needed to get them away from my pets.  At first, I grabbed the extra-long feather duster and proceeded to swat them quite well - baseball and golf practice sure help with the hand-eye coordination!  However, these must've been the steroid enhanced version of the wasp, because these guys took a lickin' and kept on ticking.  I had a good 8 or 10 room clearing swats that connected, and moments later they were back fore more.  This wasn't working - time to bring out the big guns!  My vacuum hose wasn't as long as the duster, but if anything reached the end pointing away from me, it was a goner.  These crafty pests kept hovering just out of reach, threatening to zoom in for the sting at any moment.  Thankfully, I was able to corner 'em and dispose of them.  However, if there are two, there most likely are more - and I'm off to do some wasp nest hunting!

Monday, October 3, 2011

So I'm munchin' on some pan-seared Tilapia, chatting with my favorite person in the world when I'm thinking, so what's next here?  I'm at a bit of a crossroads - some of the stuff I've been spending years working on is coming to an end, so my time will be freed up a bit more than it has been lately.

So what could I do with this newfound spare time?  Find a new hobby?  Paintball's fun, but there are a limited number of targets in this city.  Volunteer?  I'm already on a couple of executive and advisory boards that I'm going to put some more effort into.  Make new friends?  Everybody could always use some new friends.

I'm beginning to wonder if it makes sense to take things in a new direction.  Maybe I should get a bold new haircut.  *smirk* I'm actually thinking more along the lines of rebuilding myself, especially since it's been difficult lately to work out and feel stronger.  Taking care of my health needs to be a priority and I think that's something I can do while I get other things in motion towards a fun, happy, and interesting future.