Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Second Amendment Right

Last December, I finally got around to getting my Concealed Handgun License in my home state of Texas.  It was something that I had thought about for a long time but had put off for a couple of reasons.  First, I didn’t want to spend 10 hours on a Saturday in a class.  Second, I worked at a university where possessing a weapon was against the law so I didn’t see much point.  In December I interviewed and was offered a job in an “interesting” part of town.  It was on the day I received this offer that I signed up for the CHL class (I later declined the offer, but I still got my CHL).

It is not my intent to discuss gun control or lobby for the NRA in today’s post.  I choose to do neither.  I am a staunch believer in the Constitution of the United States, however.  It gives us, as Americans, certain rights.  We can choose to exercise them or not.  You may choose to speak, and speak freely.  You may choose to stay quiet.  You may choose your religion.  You may choose to not have one at all.  It’s your choice.

Here is what the Second Amendment says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Our founding fathers knew that in order to remain free, the people, its citizens, had to be armed.  This point was driven home to me a couple of years ago when I was taking some Master level classes.  I was working on a group project and it was almost Thanksgiving.  As the only American in the group, I was fielding many questions about the upcoming holiday.  It was during this question and answer period that I asked a group member of mine a question regarding her home country of India.  I said, “ We were both British Colonies.  Why do you think we gained our independence in the 1780s and you guys gained yours in the 1940s?”  Her response was simple, yet chilling: “You had firearms.”

I love being an American.  I feel very blessed to have been born here.  As many issues as we have right now, we still have people pouring over our boarders wanting to be an American or live the American Dream.  That tells me I am not alone in loving this country.  It tells me there is something great about this country.  I believe that “something” is the free and open society we live in.

In a free and open society, you will always have people who are a little unhinged.  You can point to any number of mass shootings we have had in this country and it is clear something isn’t right with the shooter.  I do not mind my state requiring me to take a class familiarizing me with gun laws and requiring me to qualify on the range.  We have to do something similar in order to drive a car.  I think it is good that we give citizens licenses to carry handguns who have taken the time to get licensed.  In order for the state to grant you a CHL, you have to be an upstanding citizen.  Criminals wouldn’t bother to go through this process.

Now that I have my CHL, I carry anywhere I’m legally able.  I love having my guns (that’s right, I carry more than one) on me at all times.  It gives me peace of mind that should someone try to attack me, I have a way to defend myself.  I hope I NEVER have to draw my handguns with intent to use them.  If I do, I pray the sight of my gun is enough to make the evildoer stop.  That is the purpose.  The only time I want to fire my handguns is on the gun range, when I am practicing.  If there are evildoers that are thinking of doing me harm, be warned, I’m deadly accurate and I will fire.  If the choice comes down to you or me, I’m going to pick me every time.

As I stated at the beginning of my blog, we Americans have rights that we can choose to exercise or not.  If you are uncomfortable with guns, that’s fine.  No one is forcing you to own one.  No one is forcing you to fire one.  However, do not try to control my rights to own guns.  I will respect your rights if you respect mine.  Keep in mind the criminal element does not give a flip about laws or “gun control”.  Trying to limit what law abiding citizens own or carry does not limit what the criminal element has.

While you ponder today’s thoughts, I’ll be out on the range.  Down and down range, y’all.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa
 Taurus PT24/7 G2 9mm

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It May Just Be March 11th

Today is March 11, 2012.  It may just be another day in March for you.  For me, March 11th is always an important day.  It’s not my birthday.  It’s not my anniversary.  On this day in 1918 in Minden, Nebraska a very important person was born.  It’s not a President of the United States, it’s not a Hollywood superstar, it’s not even someone who made a major scientific discovery.  Unless you are a member of my family, you have probably never even heard of her.  On this day, my grandmother, Ruth Winters, was born.

Some people are blessed to have one great mother in their lives.  I don’t know why God chose me to have two.  Grandma Dear (as I used to call her) was a one-room schoolhouse teacher for many years until 1978.  At the end of that school year, the one-room schoolhouse was going to close and the children that attended it were going to be sent to the town school.  I’m quite sure Grandma could have continued to teach, but she chose to retire.  It just so happened her retirement coincided with my birth. When my mom went back to work, my second mother (Grandma Dear) took care of me.

Grandma Dear was an extraordinary grandma.  Being raised at Grandma’s house was an awesome experience.  There was always something fun to do at Grandma’s.  I remember lots of arts and crafts.  My mother says she could always tell when we had been working with glitter, as it would end up in my hair.  There were interesting toys to play with.  Grandma constantly encouraged my vivid imagination.  Occasionally there would be a cousin or two to play with at Grandma’s.  I remember taking trips to museums in the area with Grandma and Grandpa.  I believe it was these early experiences that helped me develop my appreciation for history.

It wouldn’t be until years later that I would appreciate the woman who was my grandmother for the things she did before she was my grandmother.  Grandma was born two years before women were allowed to vote.  The expectation for women was slowly changing, but still very traditional.  By society’s expectations, Grandma should have graduated from school, married a local boy, and begun to have children.  Instead, Grandma went to college, Chadron State to be exact.  She earned her teaching certificate and went off to teach in one-room schoolhouses.  

Then World War II broke out.  Grandma left her country life and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming where she worked on B-17s.  She was a real life Rosie the Riveter.  A few years after that, Grandma joined the Navy, as a WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).  When I was in the 6th grade we were studying WWII in history and I was able to ask Grandma about her service.  It had always surprised me that the proper lady I knew as my grandmother would leave her comfortable life to go be Rosie the Riveter or a member of the Navy.  I asked her what her motivation for this was.  Her answer was simple.  She said, “Our country was at war and I did what I could.”  In that moment, I learned my grandmother was a patriot.

A few years after the war, my grandmother was invited to a dinner party at her brother’s house.  A cousin of her sister-in-law was also in attendance.  This is how my grandparents met.  On October 10, 1948 they were married.  My grandmother was 30 years old.  Getting married at 30 isn’t shocking by today’s standards.  She was considered to be an old spinster back then.  I don’t believe her status bothered her.  She lived an interesting life full of adventure before she settled down.

Grandma was a strong, independent woman.  I believe it was this independence and strength that helped make me into the woman I am today.  I feel blessed that I had her in my life.  Grandma Dear would have been 94 today.  The good Lord took her home on November 9, 2007.  I hope she is having a grand birthday celebration in Heaven with lots of Russell Stover chocolates, sparkles, peonies, and roses (some of her favorite things).

Thank you, Dear Reader, for allowing me to share Grandma Dear with you.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa
 A Picture of Grandma Dear.  When I think of glamorous ladies, this picture comes to mind.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The New Diet

If you regularly read my blog, you know I have been struggling with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder for about a year now.  A couple of weeks ago, while not sleeping (one of my least favorite new activities), I decided to look at the hash tag #autoimmune on twitter.  At this point, I don’t care where the answers come from, I just want one, some, something, anything.

Before I proceed with my story any further, I need to lay some groundwork information for you.  I am a fan of food.  I enjoy watching the Food Network.  I love shows like Diner, Drive Ins and Dives and Iron Chef.  They are like my food porn.  These shows inspire me to try new and different types of food.  I also enjoy cooking and baking.  I love going to a restaurant, trying something new, and then going home to reverse engineer it. is my friend.  Bottom line, I’m a foodie.

That being said, this self admitted foodie has been at war with food for almost a year.  My mystery illness was first thought to be something gastro-intestional. First it was a clear liquid diet.  Then it was a no fat diet (enter living on greek yogurt).  I would feel worse after I ate.  I got to the point where I just got really good at not eating.  Unfortunately, you can’t not eat indefinitely.

So the other night on twitter, I find a post about C.R.E.S.T., the autoimmune I suspect I have but has not been confirmed.  You don’t see this one very often, so I clicked on it.  It was a blog post about the Paleo diet and if it could help with C.R.E.S.T. symptoms.  I had no idea what the Paleo diet was.  Time to go to Wikipedia.  Basically the Paleo diet (aka Paleolithic diet) is eating like a cave man.  If it can be hunted or gathered, it’s good.  Eat as raw as possible.  No grains, no dairy.  No Dairy????  I’ve spent the better part of the last year living on Dannon Greek Yogurt.  Surely they jest.

At this point I was willing to try anything that sounded reasonable.  I went to the grocery store.  I stocked up on fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish.  After just 24 hours, I felt better.  My acid reflux due to my hiatal hernia wasn’t as bad.  I had more energy (that’s a win).  So I continued. I am happy to report it’s been about two weeks since I started to eat like a cave man.  I feel better.  I have more good days than bad (HUGE win).  I was able to start walking again.

I find my new diet extremely boring, frustrating at times.  I mourn the loss of my friends bread and dairy.  I try not to think about them.  When I get tempted to see them, I just remind myself what trouble they cause.  Sometimes my logical head wins.  Sometimes I pour myself that missed bowl of cereal and pay the price (It happened last night ). 

I think to keep temptation to a minimum, I will also be avoiding the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.  Guy and Nadia G, I will miss you!

Until Tomorrow  Melissa

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Iron Jawed Angels

A few years ago I saw the movie “Iron Jawed Angels”.  It is about Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and other suffragettes that fought for the right for women to vote.  The other day I was thinking about the movie and I decided I wanted to see it again, so I bought it.  Last night, I watched it for the second time.

"Iron Jawed Angels" is one of those movies that makes me stop and think.  Ever since I was 18 and old enough to vote, I have done so.  It is how you let you voice be heard in our democracy.  It’s how I was raised.  Sure, I stop to think about my freedoms on days like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.  Did I know the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote?  Sure, I learned that in American history class in high school (and unlike a lot of my peers, I paid attention).  However, until I saw the movie, I hadn’t really given much thought to the fight and struggle it took to get that amendment passed.

The suffragettes endured years of struggle.  It was a fight that began in 1848 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott.  Courageous women continued this fight and passed it on to younger generations until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920.  What really struck me in the movie was how these women continued to fight, no matter the cost.  The suffragettes picketed the Wilson Administration for months and were ignored.  However, as the United States entered WWI, the Wilson Administration stopped ignoring the women.  They were arrested and some were jailed.  Alice Paul was among the suffragettes that were jailed.  While in jail she began a hunger strike.  Not wanting to have a martyr on their hands, the jail authorities began to force feed Paul after a few days.

So Dear Reader, you may be wondering why I am tell you this.  I know most of the time I’m either ranting about something that has irked me, or I’m giving some history lesson.  You could say this is both.  We are in an election year.  While I feel it is important to vote in every election (I like to have my voice heard every chance I get), this year has great importance.  We will be electing a President, our Chief Administrator.  We will be electing representatives to go to The House of Representatives (one half of our legislative body; they are elected every two years).  We will be electing 1/3 of our Senators (the other half; they are elected every six years on a rotating basis).  I feel these are major decisions.

As I keep my political opinions mainly to myself, this is not where I begin to campaign for one party or the other.  The only thing I want to do is encourage you to vote.  No, I want to IMPLORE you to vote!  Are you even registered?  If not, get registered today.  There is plenty of time before November (but by no means, don’t put it off).  Too much has been sacrificed for you not to exercise your right.  A revolutionary war was fought to give us freedom from tyranny.  We had to fight a civil war to end slavery and give every citizen, no matter HIS color the right to vote (15th Amendment).  Women had to continue to fight until 1920 to be granted the right to vote with the 19th Amendment.  

I now have the right to vote.  In consideration of the cost for this right, I feel it would be a disgrace not to exercise it.  Will you join me on November 6th and let your voice be heard?  I hope you do.

Until Tomorrow - Melissa

 Alice Paul circa 1901

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Few Random Thoughts To Ponder

Dearest reader, I must apologize.  I feel as of late I just use you to vent.  I feel I must rant again tonight.  I am so frustrated with politics being infused into every part of our lives.  It has long been a pet peeve of mine when famous actors/singers use their position to spout their political views.  Do not get me wrong, I am a FIRM, let me emphasize again, FIRM believer in our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.  I have been known to defend vile speech I don’t agree with because it is a person’s right to voice it.  However, I do not think it is right to beat us over the head with it.  Are you an actor?  Is your job to act?  Or are you a politician?  Pick one.  Unless your name is Ronald Reagan, I suggest you stick to the former.

That being said, my frustrations are similarly piqued by artists and craftsmen I follow on Facebook and/or Twitter who do the same thing.  I feel like I’ve had a bait and switch pulled.  I followed you because your bio said you blog/tweet about crochet (or whatever it is).  It did not say that you were going to continually thump your political drum…daily.  Multiple times a day.  Once again, please pick one, or at least be up front about it.  I understand there maybe newsworthy events you feel you need to lend your voice to.  I’m cool with that.  Let your opinion fly.  Please just do it once in a while, while keeping your content on point as advertised (I would like to point out that my blog was advertised as RANDOM so haha!  I have cart blanche). 

With that, I would like to give you some insight on how I see the world.  First and foremost, I think history is important.  I think it vital we know and understand was has happened in the past.  One of my favorite quotes is “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.” -Edmund Burke (to clarify George Santayana said, "Those who ignore history are bound (or doomed) to repeat it”).  Bottom line – LEARN history.  Heed the lessons already learned.  Be original and make an original mistake!

Secondly – I don’t know about you, but I have enough to say grace over.  I am way too busy running my life to be up in your business.  Similarly, please keep to yourself.  If you don’t have enough to do and you are tempted to dabble in my life, get a hobby.  I would like to clarify that I feel it is also our responsibility to take care of our neighbor.  I define our neighbor as the person near us.

Let me give you an example.  Not long ago I was in a mall department store.  When I’m dealing with “new” stuff (aka boring stuff), I’m on a mission.  I am there for what I need and I’m outta there (antique stores, DSW, and Hobby Lobby are completely different stories).  I was on point and headed toward the objective. As I passed a rack of clothing I saw a small child whimpering and looking distraught.  I could have walked on by and minded my own business.  However, I knew this child was in distress, so I stopped and asked her if she was okay.  I got a sobbed “No, I can’t find my mom."  We’ve all been there.  One moment Mom is there in the store, next minute she’s gone, which then causes us to panic.  So I introduced myself to the child, asked for her name and what her mother looked like.  I had a height advantage and thought maybe I could spot her over the rack of clothing.

No such luck.  Time for plan B.  An employee with an intercom was needed.  I asked the little girl to take my hand and told her we were going to get an employee to help us locate her mother.  Long story short, just as the enlisted employee is about to make the announcement, I heard the little girl’s name being called and saw a panicked mother walking down the aisle.  I got her attention and mother and child were reunited.  

Was helping this child a big deal?  No.  I was simply helping my “neighbor”, lending a hand to someone close by in need.  Was this a situation to call the police (i.e. involve the government)?  No.  This was a situation that could be quickly resolved with some common sense.  Did I admonish the mother for doing such a poor job as a mother for losing her child?  No, it happens to the best of us.

If you’ve stayed with me so far, you know I’m gearing up for a point (okay points…I warned you, this is random, but trust me…these are all connected).  Here it is: 

1 - Freedom of Speech is important, but politics doesn’t have to be in everything you do.  Do tell me what you are an expert in.  I follow you for a reason.  

2 - Mind your own business.  We don’t need the government to regulate everything.  We are all adults (some of us just need to start acting like it).  We can all be responsible human beings and look out for our neighbor WHEN they need help.

I will close this blog and get off my soap box with a quote from our jelly bean lovin’ former President, Ronald Reagan.  “Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

Until tomorrow - Melissa