Monday, January 14, 2019
With the ownership of firearms comes responsibility, so I had asked HoneyBunch several times to teach me how to shoot and to help me get my License to Carry.
I got my wish two weeks ago. HB and I signed up to take a LTC class. He bought me a gun, one similar to his, that would be the type we needed to show shooting proficiency, and for one whole week he tried to get me to become familiar with it, but I was hesitant.
I read the booklet that came with the gun. I practiced loading and shooting it in what is called dry shooting (no bullets), and since the flyer said I would have to shoot thirty shots at different distances, I finally tried with it loaded.
I was a nervous wreck.
The class of twelve turned out to be close to forty people. We were of all ages, colors, and genders, and I was glad I wasn’t the only woman my age. The shooting test came first, and we were separated into two groups. Those who were proficient (or thought they were) would shoot first, and those who were novices would watch and go second. HB was in the first group, and when it was my turn, I would have to load and shoot without him standing by my side. I was glad HB had made me load my magazine and my gun several times. I was grateful he had encouraged me to shoot it before going to the range.
HB knew how nervous I was but this great calm came over me when it was my turn to load and shoot.
I owe my calm to several things. One, I asked my friends to pray from me and they never asked why, they just did. I needed prayer to stay calm, face my fears, and find my courage. Two, I knew if I failed this test, I had two more tries, and considering I had never handled a gun until this past week, I shouldn’t expect myself to ace this test. Three, I didn’t want to be like the woman who stood next to me.
She talked incessantly while our husbands tested first. Here I was trying to watch HoneyBunch do his shooting proficiency test, and she talked incessantly. She chattered, flapped her hands, and blocked my sight the whole time. I tried to ignore her and have never been more grateful for ear plugs in my life.
When it came time for the second group to line up, no one wanted to stand next to her, so I did. She was one of those chicks whose husband does everything for her, so she demanded he load her magazine, load her gun, and stand near her while she shot this huge revolver.
I shut her out. The instructor had us at attention, lined up, following his every command, but I heard him scold her on several occasions. He ordered the husband to stand behind the line with the others and let her do the test on her own or he would fail her. The instructor made her switch guns from the huge revolver she held to one of his loaners, a smaller 22. Every time, she waved her gun around, HB said he feared for my life.
I flubbed up once loading my magazine but the instructor caught it before I did any damage. All in all, I did better than some of the others, even some of those who shot first, but we all passed, even the chatty broad. I kept my target sheet to remind myself that I was a better shot than the man in his mid-forties who complained to my face that the class should have been divided into men and “girls.” This old girl shot all forty of her shots inside the middle circle, and he didn’t.
The rest of the day was spent in a classroom where we listened to the instructor go over the LTC laws and the penal codes about firearms. We took a test, our picture, and our fingerprints, and now, it is up to HB and me to finish the paperwork and file for our licenses.
I may never need my LTC, but I did this to face my fear of guns, or rather, my healthy respect for firearms. With the ownership of firearms, comes legal responsibility.
Monday, January 7, 2019
Before I moved out here into the wilds in 2006, my husband asked if I was allergic to cedar. I told him I didn’t think so. The only cedar trees with which I was familiar were the two, tall, roly poly trees that stood at opposite ends at the front of my childhood home in the city. We grew up calling them our Christmas trees, but since they were so dense, we never played with them like we did the oaks or the pecans. Those trees were easier to climb, so we stayed away from the decorative cedars though I never found they added much to the aesthetics of our home.
As for cedar pollen, I told HB I never recalled any in the fifteen years we lived in that house. He warned me that the cedar pollen to which he was referring was from a more aggressive tree – the Ashe juniper or mountain cedar of the Texas Hill Country. It would waft into our area in the winter months and no one was immune.
I poohpoohed him and said if it hadn’t affected me in fifty-plus years, it probably wasn’t going to now.
Fast forward to January 2014. HB and I were meeting my son, his fiancé, and her family on a hilltop to look at a wedding venue. We hiked through a campground toward a beautiful gazebo that teetered on the edge of a hillside that overlooked the Canyon Lake valley below. It would make for a beautiful wedding. The vista was breathtaking, and I did. I took a breath, one that I would regret for the remainder of the day, night, and the following day.
The other two parties were running late, so HB and I stood among the cedars waiting for them to show, inhaling more than our fair share of yellow pollen that rained and covered everything around us. First my eyes started to itch, and then my eyes. HB warned me not to rub my eyes, but it was like I had inhaled a million red ants and poured jalapeno juice into my sockets. I wanted to claw at my face.
I usually carry tissues and OTC meds in my purse but not that day. I ransacked my car, but I had nothing to help myself, so I resorted to wiping my watery eyes and runny nose with my shirt sleeves. I wailed and thrashed about in my hell, my yellow pollen, mountain cedar hell.
By the time the future in-laws showed up along with my son and his bride-to-be, I was leaking everywhere, miserable, and grumpy. I made a terrible first impression on the future in-laws, but I was beyond caring about anything other than a Zyrtec and a tissue. I stayed in the car while HB went with them to see the gazebo among the CEDARS, overlooking a valley covered solidly in more blankety-blank Cedars.
I was no better when they returned about an eternity later with their checklists and questions about where else they wanted to go see that day. I wanted to go home and see about taking a shower, removing the hated yellow pollen off my body, and taking an antihistamine, so I told them we weren’t going with them.
I tried to smile, but if you have ever seen me smile when I am ill, it is not pretty. Swollen, weepy eyes. Red, runny nose. Blotchy, sweaty skin. I pry one bleary eye open and try a lopsided smile, but to no avail. Plus, the collar and sleeves of my nice outfit looked like an overused car wash chamois.
So, yes, I can no clearly say, I am highly allergic to mountain cedar pollen, the kind that grows under legal protection in 33 counties in the Texas Hill country.
Monday, December 31, 2018
Raquel Martina Martinez: Putting Me First – NY Resolutions 2019: People who gripe about New Year Resolutions and refuse to make any don’t realize they just did. Not making a resolution is just that –...
People who gripe about New Year Resolutions and refuse to make any don’t realize they just did. Not making a resolution is just that – a resolution.
As for me, I make resolutions all year long. I start anew every day, readjusting my goals. Being positive and productive keeps me active, alert, and alive.
I look forward to 2019. It’ll be the last year I spend in my sixties. Voicing my age aloud may not surprise others but it does surprise me. I don’t feel old, but I can no longer claim myself as young. On demographic questionnaires, I have to scroll to the bottom of the page when it asks my age. It’s like those of us who get to live this long are not allowed to be first anymore.
Oh well, so what is new for 2019 for this vintage girl?
Besides the usual – diet, exercise, lose weight – I’m going to walk a 5K, maybe a 10K, by next December. Might as well work toward a bigger goal than just fitting into the clothes in my closet.
HoneyBunch and I have decided “to stay in place” as we retire. We like being mortgage free, living on our three acres, so for now we’ll keep downsizing (emptying five buildings on our property down to two). He’s recycling all the wood in his airplane-hangar-sized shop from his kindergarten furniture business into beautiful, handmade pieces that he sells at local craft shows. We’re on our third year but are expanding which shows to do in 2019.
Me? I’ve decided to continue reducing the number of books I own. All my books will be down by 50% by this time next year. Before I buy another book, two books have to go in it its place. This includes my To Be Read pile (that honestly, have been waiting to be read for years and years), and my extensive cookbook collection. Earlier this year I reduced my children’s lit books, but those too will be half gone by next December. I have no idea where to get rid of them, but I figure, it is best if I do it while I have some say so. I don’t want this chore should we ever decide to move or to whoever survives me.
There are a few more goals for 2019, nothing exciting. Some personal, financial, and legal decisions we have been ignoring. A few touchups our old house needs now that we’ve decided to stay in place. But the biggest resolution HB and I have decided is to keep introducing change into our lives.