About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chip Off the Old Block?

Garden Wish List

So, the very ugly side yard is in the process of being transformed. Today we're shoveling mulch and then we'll be finished with it for this year. Next year ... well, that's another story.
I was excited to find a Flowering Almond shurb today! I had seen one somewhere earlier in the year and couldn't remember where I saw it. Found it at Home Depot! It'll sit next to my AC unit to help hide it. No, it does not produce almonds.

I've got plans for that side yard. Eventually I want it to look like a cottage garden. I'll need a lot more plants. Three things I'd like to get to add to the garden are:

A copper hose pot like the one pictured here. I love this idea for hiding the hose.

I would also love a bird bath kinda like this one.

And I'm thinking about building a window box like this one. If I make it, its highly unlikely that it will look like this .... but maybe close??

Make that four things. I'd also like a real composter. Right now I have two garbage cans with holes drilled in them. They work. A real composted would probably work better ... or at least faster.

Fitness Stuff

If it's not one thing it's another I suppose. I've managed to increase the weight I lift but running is still kinda stalled out. I'll get there ... it's just going to take me some time. I'm OK with that. Well, not really but what can I do but accept that I'm 48 and I may need to increase less rapidly than somebody half my age. Kiddos ... if you're in your 30's ... take advantage of it 'cause after 40 its a whole heck of a lot harder.

OK, now I'll brag a little. Hey, I deserve to, right?

Here's what I'm doing with weights.

Leg Extensions - 4 sets of 10 reps @ 145 pounds
Leg Press - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 260 pounds
Inner Thigh - 4 sets of 10 reps @ 190 pounds
Outter Thigh - 4 sets of 10 reps @ 190 pounds
Leg Curl - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 80 pounds (hurts my knee a bit to do more weight)
Calf Raise - 4 sets of 13 reps @ 90 pounds

OK, upper body is MUCH weaker since I couldn't start any lifting till late March because of surgery.

Bicep curl - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 40 pounds
Tricep Extension - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 65 pounds
Rear Deltoid - 4 sets of 10 reps @ 40 pounds (really kinda hurts my shoulder so I tend to skip this one a lot)
Ab Crunch Machine - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 45 pounds
Seated Rows - 3 sets of 12 reps @ 55 pounds (I hate this one)
Lat Pull Downs - 4 sets of 12 reps @ 75 pounds

I do feel stronger and its nice to touch my leg and feel firmness rather than flab. Oh yeah, its also a lot of fun at the gym to see some big guy lift something and then I go over and increase the weight. That doesn't happen often, but when it does its a trip.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Full Moon

Is there a full moon out tonight?? Must be. Its been "one of those days". My mother did get transported (finally) to The Drake Center. Its the best place in Cincinnati for orthopedic rehab so we're hoping she won't have to be there long and that they'll get her back on her feet soon.

Today I drove my dad down to see Eli & Owen and was hoping they would have her transported by then. They didn't. What should have been a fairly easy day turned into a pretty bad day for all of us.

On an aggravating but far, far more humorous note - I got back home around 4:30, put the dogs out and started a pot of soup. It was thundering and my two sissy dogs can't handle that so they were crying and clawing at the back door for me to let them in. I didn't. Instead I ran upstairs for something thinking I would let them in when I got settled. I came back downstairs a few minutes later and went to let the dogs in and Gunner was gone. There were some stones moved by the new gate so he had somehow managed to get through not one highly reinforced gate but also a second gate. He did it pretty quickly too. THAT DOG! So let Taser in and ran out my front door yelling for Gunner. My neighbor was out and said she saw him go up the street toward the church. Great. He is usually just in the next yard and comes back the minute I call him but this time there was no sight of the little booger. I yelled and yelled for him and walked around. Still no sign on him. Exasperated, I came back in ... and found him in my house watching me from the front window. Somehow he had managed to get back in our yard and come back inside through the back door in the time it took me to get out the front door. That's Gunner. Good thing he's cute.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Update on My Parents

For those of you who don't know, my mother fell while working in the yard a couple of days ago and broke her leg. She's been at Mercy Hospital since then and will be transported to the Drake Center sometime today. They are the best in the area for rehab so we're sure she'll get excellent care there and hopefully will be able to return home fairly soon.

Dad is still doing chemo. Logan has moved in with him at least until Mom comes home so that he's not there by himself. He's doing well - still washing his van and mowing the lawn but he does get tired easily and really shouldn't be driving. I'm proud of Logan - it was his idea to stay with his Pap.

Thanks for your prayers and offers to help drive my dad around. We may very well take you up on those offers. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring Grove Cemetery

Getting There ...

We finally got the fence and gate up. Now I'm working on slowly transforming our very ugly side yard into something pretty. It'll take time but I hope to create a cottage garden type thingy here.

The gate. That's a pink rose bush on the left.

Ferns and a Blue Hosta

(can't wait till they grow up and fill in that area really well)

That's a hydrangea.
Hopefully it'll grow up and be really pretty one day
To hide the neighbor's ugly wire fence I planted English Ivy to climb it and cover it and give a green background to some other flowers I'll eventually plant.
This whole project will take a few years. Eventually we'll have a stone pathway the width of the double gate going to the gate so that if we ever have to take a truck into the back yard for anything we'll be able to. And there will be many more flowers and plants.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On a More Personal Note

Tonight a few folks from church joined together with some of the Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association to help stuff and pack backpacks that will be delivered to the kids at Pine Ridge this July. We put a lot of sweat and some blood into the job but we "got 'er done" ... well, almost. We packed 547 before we ran out of boxes. We'll get more boxes next week and will finish up the rest for a total of 600.

Now, on a personal note ...


I love it because some kids who wouldn't otherwise have school supplies will now have them.

And I love it because this endeavor draws people from all walks of life together. We were supposed to have some of the businessmen here tonight too but they couldn't make it. Now where else would you find bikers and businessmen and church people hanging out together? At my house, right? Seriously, I love that.

And I love it because this was just some crazy idea I had some years ago and it is the most amazing and humbling thing to see so many people give thousands of dollars and so much of their time to make it happen for the kids at Pine Ridge. Who'd have thunk it?

And I loved it when they all paused and reved their bikes in front of a certain neighbor who has been a cranky old man for far too long. Harleys are loud anyway but when they want to be really, really loud its something you've just gotta hear. ;)

Is that a motley crew or what?

Thanks Ron (left) for giving me a ride tonight.

Yay! Women can stuff backpacks and hold babies at the same time!

Thanks to all who came out!

Update on My Dad

People often ask about how my dad is doing, so, here's the latest...

He's doing pretty well. The good news is the chemo is working! His pain is less than before so he's cut back on morphine and his PSA is going down. And the chemo doesn't seem to be as hard on him as it was before. He has chemo two weeks, then takes a week off. The other day he felt well enough to wash his van, do some detailing on it, and then cut the grass. Not too bad for an old man, eh?

He does have a blood clot in his foot and is on medication for it. I'm sure he's sick of doctors and frustrated that he can't do more but all in all, he's doing pretty well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm Just Sayin'

So, I'm just going to say this ...

It gets really old hearing people make fun of other people for the way they dress in public. Ah yes, I know - some people really shouldn't dress the way they do. It might even be tempting to think that the way they dress deserves being made fun of, but seriously, are we still in Jr. High or what?

There is even a certain web site that I'll not dignify with a name that exists solely for the purpose of taking pictures of people who dress "badly" and posting them online to make fun of them.

Come on and grow up already people. Those folks are free to wear what they choose - and so are you. How do you know someone isn't making fun of you behind your back?

There are worse things in life than looking bad. Making fun of people is one of those things.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Since the first of the year I've been working out with the goal of being healthier and being able to maintain the level of activity I enjoy. I like doing crazy things like going on back-breaking mission trips, shopping for mega amounts of school supplies, and going for an occasional skydive. I would also like to be able to keep up with my grandkids and maybe even run a 5k.

Injuring my shoulder was a clear signal that if I didn't begin to "move it", I would "lose it". If I want to stay active - I need to be active.

So, as soon as surgery was over, I hit the gym. I could do a lot but I did what I could. I rode a stationary bike and did some lower body weight training. In March when I was released to do upper body weight training, I added that. And I began running.

Things have been progressing well ... until recently.

I have hit the infamous "plateau". I just seem to be stuck in the same place, unable to make any further progress. I can run 1.5 miles. No further. I've been aiming for the 2 mile goal for some time now with no success. Today I ran 1.5 and was pretty sure I was going to die the last half mile. And I've lifted the same amount of weight at the gym now for a couple of months. Its not bad ... I lift a fair amount (yes that's a pic of my weights at the gym) but I just can't seem in increase.

So what's a girl to do? Well, I think I'm going to increase weight and do less reps for a while and see if that makes a difference. As for the running ... I just refuse to give up. I don't know if I'll ever be able to run a 5k or not but I do know that I will always run at least 1.5 miles from here on out. I'll keep trying to go further, but I'm most definitely NOT running less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Harley :)

And people said it'd never happen. Ha! I kinda like this way of looking at things:

"Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible. "
Yesterday I got the news that the Harley is all paid for!
Yup, that's right, the 2010 Heritage Softail Classic that the Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association is raffling off at REZonate to benefit Backpacks for Pine Ridge, is all paid for! That means that everything now is profit and it all goes to buy backpacks and school supplies for the kids on the Pine Ridge Reservation!
If you go to a HD store to buy one of these, it'll cost you about $18,000. TMA is selling raffle tickets for just $10 each. Even if you don't win it, which chances are you won't.... you still win because its providing school supplies for kids who simply would not have any school supplies if we didn't get them to them. The median income on the Pine Ridge Reservation is just $3500 a year. You can imagine that if that's your income for the year, school supplies are going to be way down the list of things you need to buy. Thanks to the Cincinnati TMA and Tri-County Harley, the sky is now the limit for how many kids we can help next year!
Click on the pic for a larger view

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bikers, Babies, and Yard Sales

Just a few pics from my day ...

Mother's Day brunch with my parents, kids, and grandkids. Man, that sounds old. Funny how none of the Moms are in the pics.

Today was the Alpha Youth Yard Sale and thanks to Whitlock, we had a table for Pine Ridge. Here's a few of the crew doing what they do best - showing up early, working hard, and aggravating each other - all in love, of course.

Then it was off to Tri-County Harley to check out the 2010 Heritage Softail Classic the Teamsters Motorcycle Association are raffling off for Backpacks for Pine Ridge. I'm pretty sure I can see myself on this beautiful machine.

Then, more yard work. We all swapped plants at the Mother's Day brunch so I set out a hosta, some ferns, and irises.

What Motherhood Really Means

Time is running out for my friend. While we were sitting at lunch, she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." What she means is that her biological clock has begun its countdown and she is being forced to consider the prospect of motherhood.

“We’re taking a survey,” she says, half joking, “Do you think I should have a baby?”

“It will change your life,” I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral.

“I know,” she says. “no more sleeping in on Saturdays, no more spontaneous vacations…”
But that is not what I mean at all. I try to decide what to tell her.

I want Her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes: that her physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but that becoming a mother will leave an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable. I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking, “What if that had been my child?” That every plane rash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That urgent call of “Mom!” will cause her to drop her best crystal without a moment’s hesitation.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think about her baby’s sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.

I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy’s desire to go to the men’s room rather than the women’s at a restaurant will become a major dilemma. That issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in the restroom. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the ponds of pregnancy but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years – not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish his.

My friend’s relationship with her husband will change but no in the way she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his son or daughter. I think she should know that she will fall in love with her husband all over again for reasons she would no find very unromantic.

I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to hit a baseball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who strokes the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it hurts.

My friend’s quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. “You’ll never regret it,” I say finally. Then, squeezing my friend’s hand, I offer a prayer for her and me and all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings.

From - Everyday Miracles by Dale Hanson Burke

Friday, May 07, 2010

May Flowers

I've discovered a new hobby. Gardening. Who knew?? I always thought I couldn't grow anything and have joked about how my flowers and plants just look like they're begging to be put out of their misery. But the last few years I've taken an interest in gardening ... and well, I love it! Its a great stress-reliever - both planting and enjoying them after they bloom. I love to grab a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea and sit on my porch and enjoy the beauty.
I think I'm finished with the rock garden and the huge flower bed that surrounds our front porch and the new fencing. Now I'm working on the side of the house. That side of the house and been UGLY for a long time. Come to think of it, its been ugly since we've lived here. But I have plans. I hope, over the next few years, to make it into a cottage garden complete with a stone walkway and lots of shaggy looking flowers. We'll see. So far I've got a thornless blackberry bush, purple and white coneflowers, black-eyed susans, daises (If they come up), and lilies. I want more. A lot more. But in time ...

This is my rock garden. The baby's breath is taking over and that's OK with me.

The Dianthus are looking good now too.

Thursday, May 06, 2010