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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Barber Case

Those who follow me on Facebook will know about this but have yet to see the pics.  For the past couple of weeks I've been working on a project that I hope, will honor my dad as well as preserve some memories and be something that can be passed down and treasured for generations. 

When I was a little girl my dad worked as a barber at Bob King's Barber Shop in Petersburg, Indiana.  Recently, I had an idea to create a shadowbox of sorts to keep my dad's old barber tools in.  I went to the local craft store and they quoted between $350-$600 to do it.  Now, what is inside is priceless, but that doesn't mean I need to spend a fortune to put it in there.  So I tossed around the idea of doing it myself.  That made me nervous because I've never done anything like that ... and I wanted it to be done "right".  The last thing I wanted was something tacky, and I was afraid that would be all I could do.  Still .... I wanted to do something ....

The do-it-yourself frames weren't all that impressive - just basic black or wooden frames - and they didn't look to be deep enough either.  And then it occured to me that I medicine cabinet would be perfect!  First, I went to some salvage yards to see if I could find an old one.  No luck there.  So Home Depot was the next stop.  There I saw one that I loved!  It just said "barber shop" to me for some reason - but the size was wrong.  Next stop, Menards.  That is where I found this one.

It was almost exactly what I wanted, but the wrong color.  I debated. And debated.  And then bought it and decided to paint it a dark expresso color. 

Then I assembled the barber tools to see what I had to work with. 

A piece of foam board cut to fit the back of the cabinet and covered with the old barber smock would be the background.

The door was sent to a local glass shop to have the mirror replaced with glass.
Then I got the brilliant idea to etch the glass with dad's last name "Dyson" in a cool-looking font.  The problem with that - I've never done anything like that before either.  But, if you know me, you know that doesn't usually slow me down much. 

I got some contact paper, printed out the design I wanted on my computer, traced it with pencil on the back (a trick I learned in art school) and then cut away the design.   Once the door was back from the glass shop, I sealed the template down and covered it with etching cream.

And, then it was on to assembly.  The finished project looks like this .....

That pictures isn't the best.  It was hard to get a good picture without a glare from the windows.  These may give a better idea.

Among the items in there are a picture of dad cutting my oldest son's hair in what I believe must have been his first haircut.  The shave brush at the top and the green straight edge razor belonged to my dad's dad.  For some reason we can't seem to find the one that belonged to dad.  And the razor strop was the one he got when he went to barber school. 

It is still not completely finished.  I special ordered a latch for the door.  I'm still waiting for it to get in.  It's an old vintage-looking latch that should be perfect on the case. 

So, there it is.  Its not professional by any means, but I like it.  A lot. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Gray Family's Service in WWII

This is a newspaper article about the Gray family's service in WWII.  My grandmother was Fern Gray.  I put it on here for my family and anyone else who is interested and because Facebook keeps the images too small to read.  Feel free to save the files. 

You can click on each pic and it will enlarge it.  I thought I would put it on my blog because Facebook keeps the images too small to be able to read.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Case Cemetery

Yesterday was quite an adventure.  The day marked one year since my dad passed so we had planned to go back to Pike County, Indiana to his grave.  While we were there, there were a few other things I  wanted to check out.  And that.... is how the adventure began. 

The weather forecast called for rain all day, but you know that's never right.  It turned out to be a beautiful day - in the 60's and sunny.   It was a beautiful drive across the southern Indiana highways.

Now, it turns out that William Gray and Kazziah Ball-Gray are my 4th great grandparents.  The story has it that William and Kazziah came from Virginia to White Oak Springs in 1811.

"William Gray served in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Then in 1813 they entered land near the Highbanks settlement in the virgin forests near the White River. William served with Ge. Harrison in the war of 1812.

Kazziah Ball was a woman of education and culture, William was a tenant farmer on the estate of her father in Virginia and the match was considered an unworthy one by her family. Her father, John Ball, stated he was a cousin to General George Washington.  Nevertheless, they married and eventually moved to Pike County, Indiana. "

I had found that they were buried in the Case Cemetery in Pike County, near Iva.  And from the best I could tell, the little cemetery seemed to be out in the middle of a corn field, probably on private property.  But, I had to see it. 

Growing up in Pike County, I wasn't sure if the farmer who owned the land would allow us on it without a problem or if we would be met with a shotgun ... but I had to try.  So we drove up and down the little road near where the cemetery was supposed to be.  I used my iPhone's GPS to try to track it down.  After several trips up and down the little country road, and after several stops at various farm houses, once being met by a Doberman  but never by a person, we decided to try something else.  We drove around on the back side, down a gravel road, right across from where my GPS indicated it was, and decided it had to be "just over that hill". 

If you click on the pic of the map, you will see the land the cemetery is on ... and the path we took to get to it. 

We walked across a corn field, came to a creek and walked along it until we found a spot where we could cross easier.  Brian had the bright idea to run across it so as not to get quite as wet.  Me, I wanted to know where my feet were being planted, so I walked ... very slowly ... across it .... and got soaked. 
Once across, we scaled the steep, muddy, bank of the creek and found ourselves in a briar patch.  We untangled ourselves and kept climbing the hill, knowing that the cemetery just had to be on the other side. 
The other side of the hill revealed more corn fields.  Scatterd about the corn fields were small patches of trees and wooded areas.  Surely the cemetery had to be in one of those clumps of trees.  So with my iPhone in hand we tromped on through corn fields, hoping that 1, the GPS would guide us, and 2, that the Doberman we had spotted earlier wouldn't discover our presence.  It would also be nice to not be shot at, or to run into a coyote.  We must have looked like something out of a sitcom and no doubt sounded like it too.  It was fun.  And funny.  And messy. 
About what seemed like a mile later, I looked up and saw a big white tree.  There was nothing special about the tree - there were lots of trees out there, many every bit as big as that one, but something told me that was it.  I told Brian I was willing to bet the cemetery was beside that big white tree.  And so, on we went toward it. 
And then, we saw it.  Tucked away in the middle of the clump of trees and surrounded by brush, was Case Cemetery.
We walked around and took pictures of several of the Gray graves, figuring that they were likely somehow related to us.  Below is Kazziah and William's grave. 

I'm not sure who Estelle was, but I love this pic. 
And ... then we made our way back through the fields and across the creek and hoped that our car was still there along the road.

It was, and so we drove to Winslow,  Indiana to check out my cousin's new restaurant.  Steve is my cousin and Jessy is his son.  Jessy has recently bought the Riverside Cafe and is serving up what might be the biggest tenderloin sandwich I've ever seen.  It is certainly the best I've ever eaten.  Seriously, if you're ever anywhere near Winslow, you've got to try these.  He has other items on the menu too ... the bacon wrapped hot dogs sounded interesting, and I really wanted to try the fish too, but after eating the tenderloin, I may never want to part from ordering that wonderful thing again. 


And then it was on to Petersburg, to my dad's grave.  And then to downtown Petersburg.  I walked down to the barber shop where my dad used to work when I was little.  Its been closed for a long, long time, but the outside looked the same as always.  Even the old barber pole was out front.  I was surprised to look in the window and see the same old barber chair in there that my dad had used.  It was still set up like a barber shop and was very much like looking through a window all the way back to the days of my childhood. 

And then we headed home.  It was 12 hours, some sadness, and a lot of fun and laughs too.  It was a good day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One Year

Eli and Owen's first birthday

Cody's trip to India

Logan's graduation from the Police Academy

Logan's move away from home and his first apartment (so what if it was in a barn with 3 horses).

Logan's first job as a police officer

Eli and Owen's first steps, first words, and hearing them say "love you"

Logan moving back home and getting a decent paying job in law enforcement that he loves.

Eli and Owen's first Christmas where they understood presents, ornaments, and baby Jesus.

Those are the things that bug me most.  All the things my dad has missed.  He wanted so badly to live to see them. 

I know he would be proud of his grandsons and the men that they continue to become.  I know he would love hearing the stories Logan tells about his work and the experiences he has there.  He would also be proud, very proud of some of the decisions Logan has made this past year.  I know he would be proud of my mom too.  She's doing things he probably would have never guessed she would attempt - like getting on that zero-turn lawn mower and mowing the yard, or dancing, yes really dancing with the Eli and Owen to rock music - Areosmith, no less.  She's taking care of herself, the house, the yard, and doing very well. 
Today marks one year since his passing.  In some ways it seems strange to type those words.  Its really been a whole year.  There hasn't been a single day of that year that I've not thought of him and thought of all that he's missing.  There are people who say that those who pass on before us can see all that's going on - that they're looking over us.  There are others who say that view does not line up with scripture.  And I guess there is a point there - I mean if people who have passed could see everything, it would probably cause them pain and that wouldn't be much like heaven.  Me, I think there is an awful lot that we don't understand and I can't imagine God not allowing people to see the things that would bring them pleasure ... so I kinda think maybe they can just see the good things.  At least, I like to think so. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012


By now I'm sure you've discovered Pinterest - or at least heard of it.  Its sort of the new Google.  Its also very much the new way of looking through a magazine or catalogue and keeping the decorating ideas, craft ideas, recipes, etc. that you like.   I'm not sure if its the best thing that's ever happened to me, or the worst.  :) 

I have found some motivation to clean out closets and re-organize things.  I've thrown a lot of stuff away that's been sitting in my closet for a long time.  That's a good thing.  If you've been to my house, you know I have a huge closet off of my study and its a great place to stash junk.  This is what one side of it looks like now. 

The other side is taken up by the hot water heater.  And the other side - I'm still working on.  I need containers and am waiting till I find some that I like.  I love the little baskets that are really popular now but I know from personal experience that those adorable little things can collect a lot of dust.  NOT my idea of making things simpler.  I'm sure I'll come up with something - in time. 

I've also come across some cool ideas.  I had seen these old window pane photo displays but never really considered doing one ... until .... I was at my mom's the other day.  She's been sorting through old photos and came across some that my dad had that none of us had ever seen before.  There were some of my dad as a little boy and some of my grandfather as a young man, and even some of my great grandmother, who I had never seen a picture of.  So .... it seems appropriate to display a few of those in an old window I found at a salvage yard for $15. 

I also picked up my dad's old barber tools.  When I was a little girl, before Dad  owned the men's clothing store  and long before we moved to Ohio, he was a barber at Bob King's barber shop in Petersburg.  I remember going to Catt's Cafe with my mom and waiting for him to get off work.  Since Catt's was just across the street from the barber shop, we could watch for him easily. 

I was surprised to find in my dad's old barber tools, my grandfather's old shaving brush and straight edge razor.  So in addition to dad's barber tools, there were some things of my grandfather's.  I have lots of memories of dad cutting my boy's hair as they grew up too ... so .... I thought I would put together a shadowbox.   I priced out having them done at a local craft store and was stunned that it would cost $300-$600 to have them do it.  I also wasn't all that crazy about the do-it-yourself boxes they sold there ... and then I thought of using an old medicine cabinet.  When I get a chance, I'll be hitting some salvage yards for one of those.

But, back to Pinterest.  Its been a good thing.  I've found some more DIY cleaners and hand creams and soaps which seem to work well and are less expensive (and less chemicals) than the store bought kind.  I've found a few decent recipies.  But  I also see how it could become a bad thing.  I think that's how must things in life are.  I try to avoid the "fashion" and "home decor" sections because, like anybody else, I like pretty things, but I don't feel right about spending bookhooo's of money of material things.  It would be oh so easy to do if I kept looking.  So I just don't look there.