Monday, December 17, 2012


**DISCLAIMER: Do not read this if you believe ignorance is bliss.  Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance means you are uninformed and unaware.  Leave now.     
To those who admonish the right to bear arms, who condemn prayer in schools, and who believe in freedom of speech so long as it does not offend you, remember this:   I fought for these rights, for my country, for my children, for you.  Try to take them from me, and I will shank you. 
In your darkest hour of need my right to bear arms is the difference between your life and the bad guy’s death.  I carry a Glock 22 .40 caliber pistol in uniform, a M16A2 rifle in my patrol car, and an S&W Bodyguard .380 between my boobs on my days off.  I’m accurate and deadly with all three.  My boot, belt, back pocket, and Kevlar vest keep my knives warm and at the ready.  Try to take my guns, my knives, and I will find another weapon to protect my loved ones. 
Ignorance and denial of the evil that surrounds us is the greatest threat.  So many people are oblivious to the monsters in this world.  They watch in horror as the media flashes headlines of school shootings, mass murders, snipers on rooftops.  Then the politics begin.  A trip to the mall, a plane flight home, a movie theater, college campus, pumping gas, political rallies, and just driving down the street have been recent horrors where monsters attacked with the use of firearms, knives, or explosivesYou’re appalled at first then you become complacent as the media frenzy fades and think it won’t happen to you.  You’re sheep. 
The psychology of the bad guys is another focal point in the media.  They’re all “mentally disturbed”.  That is a broad term that can be interpreted to fit a number of mental disorders.  It is defined as any clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome characterized by the presence of distressing symptoms, impairment of functioning, or significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, or other disability.
Guess what that means?  Any of you with general anxiety disorder, phobias, ADHD, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc  which are all psychological syndromes have—by definition—a mental disorder.  There are good men and women who walk the front lines every day with one or more of these psychological syndromes.  The top one being a sleeping disorder followed by caffeine induced anxiety I’m sure.   With this in mind do you really think the bad guys having a mental illness makes a damn bit of difference?  No.  What makes the difference is the choice they made.  They chose to kill.  I know plenty of bat-shit crazy people who wouldn’t hurt a hair on a fly’s ass.  Stop making excuses for their choices.  They are evil.  They killed innocent people because they wanted to and the only way to stop this from happening again is stop being sheep. 
A number of lawmakers are hell bent on making it harder for the good guys when the bad guys are…dare I say it…BAD.  While law abiding citizens stand in line with the red tape to legally purchase a firearm the bad guys are stealing them.    They break into homes and cars to steal them, take them from loved ones, get them from friends, and obtain them by any means necessary in order to break more laws that were meant to “protect” us.  A box cutter was the weapon of choice for the terrorists who hijacked planes and attacked us on 9/11.  Shall we outlaw all straight edged instruments that can be used as a weapon?  Laws only keep the good people honest.  The bad ones don’t give a shit. 
My children are vulnerable enough in this world and it scares me to death that they may be taken from me through tragedy.  On Christmas day those of you uninvolved with the atrocities that took place will gather around decorated trees to open gifts then gather around a table to feast, all of the evil will be forgotten.   Whether you are reading this shaking your head or nodding in agreement, remember:  I’m not the threat.   I’m just here to save your ass when it comes. 
Dear God, thank you for the strength to face what others fear, to fight what others cannot, and to protect them when they refuse to protect themselves.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Remember Them

Heaven’s gates open wide for theses angels to enter.  God’s arms welcome them home.  12/14/2012

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto,27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6

Sunday, October 7, 2012

OBITUARY...not mine.

To my dear friends, loved ones, and greatest--my readers, 

The moments in life that make you stop and remember your priorities are often not subtle moments. Life gets busy, especially with kids and work (etc. etc.). When those moments happen that make you stop they are like someone punching you in the gut and making you gasp for air.

One of those moments happened while I was at work. End of shift, September 22, a phone call from my sister.  She usually sends a text and knows I’ll call her back after work.  This time it went to voicemail, she left a message then called my Hubs to tell him I may need to get home sooner than planned. It was the tone of her voice and the slight hitch that was noticeable when she spoke about our dad’s health declining more rapidly than they expected. 

Fighting back tears I snapped at my Hubs over something he said to our four year old while on the phone with him.   It wasn’t even part of the conversation, just a distraction for me to change the subject and get off of the phone as the lump in my throat swelled.  I love a good cry, but not when I’m in uniform and have to solve other people’s problems who expect a little more bearing and professionalism.  It wasn’t fair.  It was too soon and raw after losing my father-in-law in April to a painful battle with cancer.

My dad (step-dad endearingly called Mr. Bob) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago.  But there was something more than Parkinson’s rearing its ugly head.  The degenerative and immobilizing disease rapidly progressed with “episodes” where he would stumble and sometimes pass out, only to come out of it with a glazed look and no explanation.  He would have them when he stood up which most of us assumed was blood pressure related.  They got worse to where it would happen with him sitting down. 
My mom saw it daily.  She tried to explain it to doctors who ran tests who said over and over everything looked normal.  The test results were normal they were just running the wrong tests.  The medical gurus at the VA just nodded their heads and were unable to explain it—the pain, random falling, confusion, the dizziness, all of it worsening rapidly—so they kept upping his medications.

On August 22, or about that time, they finally got a doctor who was straight with them.  With everything Momma described, new tests and the Doctor’s experience, the diagnosis was not Parkinson’s…it was worse.  Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is the name given to this evil foe that had been infiltrating dad well before any symptoms alerted them. 

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, MSA is:
“…a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by symptoms of autonomic nervous system failure such as fainting spells and bladder control problems, combined with motor control symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, and loss of muscle coordination. MSA affects both men and women primarily in their 50s. Although what causes MSA is unknown, the disorder's symptoms reflect the loss of nerve cells in several different areas in the brain and spinal cord that control the autonomic nervous system and coordinate muscle movements.”

My definition, it's Parkinson’s on steroids.  It is known to advance rapidly with progressive loss of motor skills, eventual confinement to the bed, and death.  The cause of MSA is unknown.  There is no remission.  There is no cure.  The only sure way to diagnose multiple system atrophy is to examine brain tissue after death—my God, this sounds like rabies. 
Monday, September 10, 2012 dad was placed into hospice care. It was less than a month that he went from being able to communicate, eat, drink and somewhat manage his personal needs independently to being a shell of a body lying in a hospice bed with family surrounding him.  We begged him to swallow his medication, to eat or drink anything, to just sleep and wake up in God’s arms because the pain we felt for him, seeing him this way, was not able to be treated with morphine. 
Broken hearted, we said goodbye to him on Thursday, October 4, 2012.  Dad remained very brave and kept us all close to him with his memories and stories up to the end.  He told us all he would be going soon and that he loved us.  Amazingly I said goodbye on the Monday before telling him I would see him that Saturday.  He shook his head and said, “No, they won’t let you inside.”  I told him I would be here anyway to see him and he said, “ok, but you won’t get in.  I love you.” 

I love you.  He made that known through all the years in my life.  He was the man that showed me what a daddy is suppose to be and what I wanted a husband to be like, as he treasured my mother.  Forever the greatest man in my life, I love you more Mr. Bob.  I love you more.

Seale Funeral Service, Inc.

1720 S.Range Ave., Denham Springs LA 70727    

Robert “Bob” Lester Jackson, 70, passed away Thursday, October 4, 2012 at his home in Pine Grove, LA.  He served and defended our country in the U.S. Navy, was a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church and once longtime business owner of Slade’s Industrial Services, Baton Rouge.  He was known to everyone as “Paw Paw” and will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Survived by his wife, Debbie Jackson; children and spouses, Sheri Payton, Robin Taylor, Bobby and Larquel Jackson, Elaina and Heath Monson, Brandy and David McDonald, T.J. and Beka Buckley, and Sissi and Bobby McLaughlin; grandchildren, Brittanie, Jordan, Alyssa, Taylor, Harlie, Anthony, Chase, Raven, Moose, Bammers, Colton and Cason; great-grandson, Brendan; sisters, Leslie Jackson Thoresch and Rhonda Jackson Swink; brother, Barry Don Jackson; “blood brother” and best friend, Jerry Guffey; as well as many other relatives and friends.  He was preceded in death by his mother, Oletha Highfill; father, Lester Wesley Jackson; brother, Gary Wayne Jackson; and grandson, Chance Wayne McDonald. 
Visitation will be at Seale Funeral Home, Denham Springs, on Monday, October 8, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Visitation will resume Tuesday October 9, from 10 a.m. until the Memorial service at noon, officiated by Rev. Paul Taylor, Rev. Greg Stewart and Rev. Max Landry.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Children’s Home Inc. located in Paragould, AR.   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Worth It

There are a lot of things that make my job stressful.  I've seen it wear on coworkers, physically and emotionally.  I've seen it in my own reflection at the end of a rough shift. 

One of the toughest calls I've had to take recently came out just as I had left the area it occurred in.  I was on my way to a verbal disturbance when the tone alert sounded.  A two year old boy was found in the pool, unknown time lapse.  Clearing a median to get around traffic, without even skimming the hedges, I hit the lights and sirens.  I always think the A/C drops out when my car goes into emergency mode, but I'm pretty sure my adrenaline has something to do with the sudden temperature change. 

Traffic in this area is frustrating on a slow day, even more so when the cars just STOP right in front of you because they panic when they see blue lights.  It reminds me of Frogger trying to cross over the main road.  CAD updates, the little boy is out of the pool and the caller had given rescue breaths.  The little boy was breathing and could be heard crying in the background.

As I pulled up and ran to the door a young woman opened it, hair soaking wet, eyes full of tears, and her arms wrapped around her son.  He was responsive but kept trying to fall asleep she said.  His eyes would close and head fall to her shoulder as she hurried around the house trying to focus and gather what she needed to get him to the hospital. 

It was then I had to stop and make her sit down.  She took a deep breath, pressing her lips to his head trying to hold back her tears.  I held his hand, rubbing his fingers and arm to keep him awake until Fire Rescue arrived.  Softly saying his name to keep his attention, she hugged him.  She squeezed my hand and closed her eyes.  In that moment I felt the pain a mother feels when her child is hurt.  Helpless and vulnerable, even a little angry. 

Fire Rescue came in and assessed the little boy.  He was breathing on his own, but they were concerned with his vitals and needed to transport him.  The greatest sound heard during the ordeal was him screaming when they put the IV in his arm.  Even his mother seemed relieved with the outcry from him, a sign of hope in her mind.

The investigation showed he was just a fast little boy that got away from his mom while she was busy in the house.  The safety precautions were all in place for the pool.  A curious little boy just figured out how to get around them.  The mom was very brave and acted fast to save his life. 

The dad rushed from work to meet them at the hospital. The grandparents and other family arrived shortly after.  I was standing by as the agent finished speaking with the parents, and kept peeking in to see the little boy.  He was all smiles and talking by then.  Even with his improvement the doctor wanted him to be admitted to Arnold Palmer in Orlando.  The family surrounded him as I backed out of the room and waved bye.  He gave me a thumbs up and smiled.  I was sure he'd be fine, but we never know the full outcome.  It's the nature of the beast.  You do what you can at that time then shake it off and move on to the next call. 

This time I got to see the outcome.  A few days later while on scene at a retail theft the loss prevention officer said someone was outside the office asking for me.  When I opened the door the dad and little boy were standing there smiling.  His son had seen me when I walked in and wanted to say Hi.  His dad said they were doing great and would be moving into their new house without a pool!  Seeing the little boy smile and getting a hug from him made every ounce of the day worth it. 

There were plenty of calls I've been to where the difference between life and death was in my hands.  This was not one of those calls.  I did nothing more than hold a mom's hand and reassure a little boy he'd be fine.  As law enforcement we are often disliked, lied to, and targeted.  It's calls like this that humbles us and shows us that what we do makes a difference.  To us it's a job, but to others we're the first hope they have when they call for help.  It's worth it. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Through My Eyes

Just a little background on my bad eyesight:  I was 8 or 9 when I got my first pair of eyeglasses, 13 when I started wearing contacts, 26 when I had to move out of regular soft lenses in my right eye to Toric ($300+ a box for a 6 month supply) trifocal lenses and fight with my insurance to cover both eye prescriptions.  I was paying over $900 a year out of pocket.  I’m 34 years old now…you do the math. 

The last eye appointment I had was roughly six weeks ago.  Two weeks ago my glasses came in, but my contacts had another two to four weeks before arrival.  The lady behind the counter asked me to try them on for proper fit.  I took my contacts out, stumbled blindly to the chair, and viola my glasses fit.  The lenses were thick, even with the feather-weight lens they offered, but the frames were cute.  I took them off and go to put my contacts back in only to find I ripped my right one!  I had NONE at home, NONE in my purse, and NONE for backup in my gear bag for work.  Seriously?

That was on Monday, July 23rd.  Forced to wear my glasses, I sucked it up for a couple days before I couldn’t take it anymore.  I should’ve been use to them by then, but I was nauseous from the movement, couldn’t look side to side or up and down without feeling off balance.  I had to do something.  Waiting on my contacts gave me the perfect opportunity to call about Lasik. 
The Filutowski Cataract & Lasik Institute was recommended by a friend and coworker who recently had the procedure done with great results.   When I called they scheduled me right away for a consultation.  I only had to be out of my soft contacts for three days.  It was a week from the day I got my glasses.  Monday, July 30th, I walked into the Daytona office with low expectations of getting Lasik.  I knew my eyes were pretty bad and accepted that I may not be a candidate for the procedure.  There were other options and I was even okay with some improvement and a lesser prescription. 

After my full eye exam and consultation I was approved for Lasik.  My prescription was listed as the following:  OD: -10.00 + 4.00 x 085 and OS: -9.75 + 1.75 x 150.  The first number (-10.00) is the amount of nearsightedness, the second number (+4.00) is the amount of astigmatism, and the third number (x085) is the direction of the astigmatism; astigmatism being the football shape of the eye.  The OD is the right eye and OS is the left eye.  As you can see my right eye was pretty bad. 

The doctor said astigmatism doesn’t scare them.  Whew!  The prescription strength is the tough part. Pffflt!   The next step was setting the surgery date.  I was preparing myself to wear glasses for a month before I could get it done like so many people had to do before me.  Nope.  They could do it as early as Friday, August 3rd.  Again, I only had to be out of my soft lenses for three days before the procedure.  Since I didn't have any that wasn't a problem. 
I was overjoyed.  Driving the past two weeks in my glasses, partially at night, gave me horrible headaches and left me vulnerable at work.  I had no peripheral vision and if something happened that my glasses got knocked off my face I was basically blind.  How blind? I’m nearsighted, and so nearsighted that if you hold your hand two inches in front of your face that would depict approximately how close I had to be to something to make out what it was or what it said.  Another issue with the glasses was getting in and out of my car and they would fog up.  That was just peachy on a traffic stop at night when I was already blinded from the lights that made me squint to get rid of the halos and glare. 

My supervisor was a godsend letting me have off on short notice for the procedure.  We had a case the night before that kept us over into the wee morning hours.  I got home at 5:30 that morning, slept a couple hours, took our oldest to get registered for school, got home just in time to leave for Lake Mary where the surgical center was located, and drove an hour and a half to make my 1:10 p.m. appointment.  My Hubs took off work to drive me and to poke fun at me while I couldn’t see. 

Upon arrival I was greeted with a 10mg valium and a bottle of water.  For someone who doesn’t take more than a morning Flintstone vitamin that valium put me on my butt.  I was wine happy in about ten minutes and didn’t care if I could see or not.  The nurse came out and helped me to a dark sitting room with a recliner where there was soft music playing.  I say ‘helped’ because even though I was wearing flip-flops it felt like I was tipsy walking in high heels. 

There were two other people sitting with me, a young girl and an old guy.  The girl was having Lasik like me and the guy was getting the lens implants.  The young girl disappeared through a door into a room that is glassed in and can be viewed by everyone else in the waiting area.  I’m still in the dark room tapping my flip-flops against my feet to the beat of the elevator music.  A nurse opens another door and says, “Ms. McLaughlin, it’s your turn.”  I reply, “cool.”  Still sitting in the recliner I reach out my hand to her and wait for my escort.  She was laughing at me, knowing how blind I was and that if she really wanted to she could lead me right into a wall and I wouldn’t know until I hit it. 

The glass room was clean and cool, subtly lit, and quiet.  Dr. Filutowski himself was performing my surgery.   I couldn’t make out his features, but his voice was soft and he had a slight accent.  He immediately put me at ease and explained what I would see and hear throughout the procedure.  Odd, he didn’t say what I would feel.  That’s because I soon found out I didn’t feel anything.  My eyes were completely numb from the drops.  The contraption used to expose my eyeball to the laser caused slight pressure for less than a minute.  I closed my left eye then saw the same thing on my right eye.  In less than two minutes I was sitting in an exam chair with Dr. Filutowski shining a light in my right eye to mark the points he needed with what might have been a sharpie pen.  It was weird ‘seeing’ it and not feeling it. 

That was less than a minute and I was led into the other side of the glass room where another contraption held my eyelids open and a laser light penetrated my eye.  The doctor told me to look straight at the light.  It was red starbursts, almost like a still picture of a red firework explosion.  I heard the laser and saw sparks in the red light that eventually started to come into focus as a small red dot.  The clamp was removed, a few drops in my eyes, and he told me to blink.  I sat up and looked across the room at one of the machines where I could read the letters…I could actually read across the room.  It was a bit hazy with the drops, but I could see!  Next thing I know I was standing next to Dr. Filutowski having my picture taken. 
Rest.  Lots of rest and lots of drops for the next few hours, then a follow up the next morning.  I woke up with clear eyes and able to see Fat Dougie lying between me and Hubs.  The alarm clock was visible over Hub’s head and it read 5:30 a.m.  Holy crap, I could see the alarm clock!! My eye exam reported my left eye as 20/25 and my right eye 20/20, together easily seeing 20/20.  This is less than twenty-four hours after the procedure and I’m able to see clearly for the first time in over 30 years without glasses or contacts. 

BEFORE:                                          AFTER:

It’s early for me with the procedure to be boasting how awesome it is, but I can tell you this, it has already changed my outlook on so many things.  No pun intended.  I have career goals that I didn’t think would be possible because of my bad eyesight.  Now I can try out for the dive team and not worry about being blind in the water during the testing.  I don’t have to worry about having eyeglasses or contacts in my car for backup in case I lose/damaged them, or struggle on the firing range with my eyes drying out in my contacts.  Best of all I don’t have to pay a fortune for either of them anymore! 
Questions about what follows and did I smell bacon during the laser portion come up too.  No, no bacon smell, though I always crave bacon after someone asks that.  And what follows is up to the individual.  For me, it’s enjoying every day God has given me to see the world with my new eyesight ...and no eye makeup for a week.   The two same questions everyone has asked me, “Does it hurt?” and “How much did you have to pay for it?” 

NO, it did not hurt at all.  I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t feel a thing other than slight pressure when they apply the first contraption to hold your eye in place.  It caused minor bruising on the upper white of my eye that is barely visible unless you point it out.  I still don’t feel it.  Nothing near as irritating as sinus or allergies, and the pressure was less than if you were to apply eyeshadow with a brush.  When my eyes feel dry I use the drops they prescribed as often as I want.  You also get steroid and antibiotic drops for the first few weeks. 

The cost?  It depends on the individual’s eyes, the procedure being done, their prescription, and whether or not they’ve ever had it done there before.  First timers pay a lot more than follow up surgeries after the first year.  Mine totaled $4800.00 well worth it dollars.  That was with a generous discount for being LEO and paying upfront instead of financing, as well as having it done within three months of the exam, and they were running a summer special.  Without all of that I would’ve paid $6000.  During the first six months if they need to tweak either eye it is covered under my already paid cost, and if I need further correction after that which is not for the same issues then it’s only $500 per eye.  Same after care applies. 

If you didn’t do the math from before, over $900 a year for the past eight years in glasses and contacts, that equaled approximately $7200.  Add in the cost of the eye exams/copay and lens solution too.  Friends and relatives who have had this done over the years are all saying it was the best investment they ever made.  I’m inclined to agree.   Many of them had it done 8-15 years ago and still have 20/20 vision.  That’s over $7200 dollars I can save…or spend on really awesome sunglasses to protect my newly improved big brown eyes!

Monday, July 16, 2012


You're walking to your car after shopping, hands are full, you're digging through your purse for the car keys, and it's dark out.  All of a sudden two males with hoodies drawn around their faces jump out of a car and run toward you with a gun yelling for you to give them your purse.  You give them your purse and they decide they don't want a witness so they shoot.

It's a late evening, cool breeze, and perfect for a run.  You take off on your normal path, be it your neighborhood or park, and as you're halfway through your goal distance a guy jumps out of nowhere and tackles you.  He's got one hand with a knife against your throat as he tells you to be quiet or he's going to kill you.  It's now dark, you're a mile or more from home, and no one is around to hear you scream. 

You stop at the corner gas station to buy your lotto or grab a drink when someone walks in and points a gun at you.  Tells you to get down then points it at the clerk and orders him to open the register.  Say you have your kid(s) with you and they start crying, frustrating the gun-wielding robber who then points the gun at one of them. 

These are scenarios for some of you to think about, reality for some of you who have been through it.  Whatever your experience, what would you do?  Some of you would get robbed or raped, or worse...killed.  Then there's some of you who would think like I do and whip out whatever concealed weapon you have to drop the SOB.  Call it paranoid, I call it prepared. 

I grew up in a country town where daddies taught their daughters to shoot, and mommas taught them where to aim.  It was never about protection then, more about knowledge and self-sufficiency.  I moved out of that small town and joined the biggest gun club in the world, the military.  Becoming a Marine was the growth and change I needed to realize my personal strength.  It wasn't until my career in law enforcement that I discovered knowledge and personal strength wasn't enough protection off-duty.  Yeah, even cops are victims. 

Close your eyes and think about one (or all) of the above situations.  Put yourself as the victim, feeling the fear and anger build.  Think about what you would want to happen.  You want to win.  You want the bad guy to pay.  Most important, you want to be able to protect your loved ones.

One of the most useful sayings (pretty much a mantra for LEOs) is "You're body won't go where your mind has never been."  This means if you don't think about the worst that can happen then you won't know how you can respond.  In a moment of crisis you act or you freeze.  If you freeze you lose, and sometimes that loss may be someones life.  Whether you carry a pocket knife or a handgun, make sure you know how to use it in moments that you least expect to. 

I'm all about my Kershaw (pocket knife) and lately I have been carrying my .380 S&W for easy concealment.  I was recently introduced to what some of my dear friends call "The Boob Holster".  It's aptly named the Flashbang and for the past week I have carried it to test it's efficiency and concealment.  Friends have inquired about how you retrieve your gun from it.  Do you take off your shirt?  Do you have to unsnap the bra? Can you see it in tighter shirts? What about wearing it while you workout or run? 

Here's my answers to those questions:

No, you do not have to take your shirt off to retrieve your gun, although this could be a very effective distraction as you "flash" the bad guy to get your gun. 

No, you do not have to unsnap your bra or the holster to retrieve your gun.  It is surprisingly quick to reach up your shirt front, grab the handle of your gun, and before you blink you've pulled it out of the holster and already have a shot fired at the bad guy's head. 

Yes and No as far as seeing it in tighter shirts.  I wear clingy shirts sometimes and even wore it under my workout clothes one day.  I asked a few people if they could see where my gun was concealed and they kept looking for it around my waist and legs.  When I told them it was in my bra (guys will unintentionally...and intentionally, stare when you tell them) they said they would've never known.

I wore it once to workout and that just isn't conducive to lifting weights or doing the Insanity workout.  Running with it was fine, I did have to wear an underwire bra though.  It's the best support for the holster.

The website I ordered mine from has videos that show the quick draw methods and also how you can position the holster.  I wear mine high for better concealment in some clothes and low for comfort in others.  It's a good tool for women who want to carry concealed without having to wear baggy clothes

For my fellow gal pals that carry concealed, if you have a personal favorite please share.  The more knowledge we can spread about self-defense and female friendly tools for protection, the better.  

"I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2nd Amendment, but not for Veterans?

Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act

For those who have served our country, sacrificed greatly, and received an honorable discharge from military service, but have since designated someone else to handle your affairs...this applies to you.

You see, when a veteran designates someone else to handle their affairs, such as financial or medical decisions, the Department of Veterans Affairs classifies them as "incapacitated".  The VA notifies the FBI's NICS who then uses the "incapacitated" classification to prohibit the veteran, and everyone else in the household, from owning firearms.  That's putting veterans who have done nothing wrong and sacrificed everything in the same category as convicted felons. 

The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (as explained in the link above) is a bill that will allow veterans to legally designate someone else to handle their affairs and still maintain their right, or household members right, to own firearms.  A judge or magistrate would need to order the 'no firearms' rule based on whether the veteran is a danger to self or others.

Support this bill and our veterans who sacrificed so much already to defend our country.  They should still be allowed to defend themselves. 

If you've earned every ounce of your 2nd Amendment, don't save it for a rainy day.  That's when you will need it the most.  With that in mind, I'm heading out to buy another handgun.  I have two hands, I might as well use both to "bear arms". 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Karma...and no wine.

A day full of news, good and bad, has me wondering if Karma is off her meds.  Instead of jumping up and down (throwing a tantrum to say the least) on my soap box, I will simply use my ninja writing skills to finish reports and work on my manuscript. 

Meanwhile, enjoy funnies I found that made me smile:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Behind the Badge

Curiosity invaded my thoughts today after I read a fellow blogger's post on what it's like being married to a cop. I have quite a few friends who hold the title “Cop's Wife”and realized only one of my female coworkers has a husband who works outside of law enforcement. There must be more men behind the badge, who either stay home with the kids or work in the civilian sector.

Law enforcement is a life the entire family has to be on board with in order to make it work. For many years I had the privilege of seeing my brother-in-law become a very successful police officer and work hard to get promoted. His wife and kids worry, wife more than kids, but they know the support at home is what helps keep him safe on the job.

It's a delicate battle we fight, to keep our lives balanced as we bring order and maintain the peace in our communities. There are things we're exposed to in this job that can't be explained to most and we don't want to explain to others. Mainly because you don't want to relive those moments; you don't want the images refreshed in your head that took numerous calls and reports since then to bury. Hubs and I met in the military and in respect to my current job he understands why I don't divulge certain details. Its part of what we keep hidden behind the badge.

You see, the badge I wear fits into the palm of my hand. Its physical attributes are nothing more than a piece of metal that pins to a uniform. What it represents is the true value. The responsibility of the person who wears it doesn’t end when the uniform comes off. That is sometimes the toughest part for families, seeing their loved one out of uniform seemingly “off duty” and still in cop mode. You eventually figure out how to leave work at the threshold, but it’s not a matter of turning it off. You can’t. I can’t. I won’t.

My husband is married to a woman who walks out the front door wearing a target on her chest. He sees the uniform lying in the clothes basket with blood on it (or God only knows what) and doesn’t ask what happened unless I bring it up. He goes to bed alone most nights as I stay up typing reports and finishing work for the next day. We juggle our intimate time together like a circus clown on fire. That’s a fairly accurate description considering our life is a frenzy of circus acts with our boys taking center ring. Some days I half expect to see a monkey riding one of our dogs through the house.

Hubs manages to keep his worry and frustration about my job reasonable. The shift work, over time, dangers of the job, and even a twinge of jealousy are all part of the battle. The balance is our communication. I beam with humbled pride at him for wanting to share my success and goals. Even more I think it drives him to reach his own.

Life behind the badge is not easy. If it were then everyone would live it. The sacrifices and lack of others’ understanding often hinder our relationships with friends, wear on our patience with loved ones, and keep us at a distance with our own emotions in order to do the job. In regards to who’s wearing the badge in the relationship…that doesn’t mean they are the ones who make all the sacrifices. It’s a delicate battle indeed.

S. McLaughlin

Dedicated to all public safety and military families.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lou'siana Easter

Every holiday has it's traditions, and every culture adds their own touch.   Here's a glimpse at some of the Easter traditions us southern folk partake in that might be fun to add to your own celebration:

1. Egg Knocking-after the traditional egg hunt of decorated hard boiled eggs, you grab an egg as does your competitor and you take turns "knocking" or tapping them against the other to see whose egg cracks first.

2. Crawfish Boils-the ham and potato salad are nice additions to a feast for Easter Sunday, but leave room for the main course.  Crawfish boils kick off as soon as church service ends, AMEN.  The mud bugs are seasoned and served hot over a newspaper covered picnic table.  Reading the Sunday paper this time of year means moving a pound of crawfish over to see the comics or local ads.

3. Candy!-My favorite is the Elmer's Candy made in Ponchatula, La.  Heavenly Hash, an Elmer's Chocolate Easter Bunny, and Gold Brick Eggs are a must have. 

In the midst of all the fun, food, and festivities of the day remember the reason we are celebrating: Jesus.  Happy Easter and may you all have a blessed day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blog Title Origins

In recent weeks I've been asked about the title of my blog and what my "theme" is.  Simply put, it's a light-hearted view of my life's chaos and a way for me to share a humble passion for writing.  I had it brought to my attention that other blogs on different social sites are using my title as well as two publishing companies; all started after my original date.  "I'd be pissed!" is the common statement I hear when they see the knockoffs.  Frankly, I'm flattered.  I get the point.  I just don't work that way.  I blog when I feel like it, and I share my writing/books in bits and pieces.  If I wanted the masses to see my work I'd give in to the revision letters and pile of queries that are sitting on my desk.  It's just not time. 

As for the title, it is a play on words for the type of books I like to write.  I'm a romantic hopelessly.  No, I said it correctly.  I'm also a Columbo of the female variety that likes to solve matters...and murders, of the heart. One day as I tapped the ink from my calligraphy pen I looked at the etching on the end of it:  Stiletto.  It's a certain model of pen, not just a fountain pen, but also ballpoint.   Then came the feminine touch.  The stiletto heel was named from the style of dagger/knife that had a slim blade often used for concealment.  Hence, Stilettos and Ink was born. 

stilettos, plural of sti·let·to (Noun)Noun:
1.A short dagger with a tapering blade.
2.A sharp-pointed tool for making eyelet holes.

It's okay.  It makes sense in my mind and that's really all that matters.  :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lessons We Learn

Lessons we learn:

An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside all of us. One is evil, it is anger, jealousy, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness and truth."

The boy thought about it and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"
The old man replied, "The one you feed."

-Author unknown

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fear Holds No Power Here, by Harlee Stafford

The following was written by Harlee Stafford and with his permission I've reposted it for all of you.  (Thanks, Harlee.)

Fear Holds No Power Here

In memory of Barbara Pill

Fear holds no power here,
For She walked among us…
A beacon of what we should strive to be.

A guardian
for those unable to protect themselves.

A voice
for victims who struggled to be heard.

A shoulder
for those who needed to cry.

A pillar
for those in need of strength.

A guide
for those lost in life's wilderness.

A smile
for those wrestling with sadness.

Dedicated wife
Loving mother
Unconditional friend.

Her light stood against the darkness...
Hearts broken,
Our tears fall.

The Devil trembles
As Saint Michael welcomes
A peerless warrior into his fold.

Fear holds no power here…
For she watches over us.

Our guardian...
Our sister...
Our friend.

By Harold "Harlee" Stafford
March 9, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

End of Watch

A silence fell across Brevard County, it spread across the country to reach as far as overseas. Cell phones rang, text messages chimed, and social media spread the news like wildfire as everyone panicked to find out if their loved one was okay. God called an angel home today.

A fellow deputy, veteran of 30 years in law enforcement, ran to the fight. She stood in the line of fire to protect and serve her community. Barb, I give my humble thanks to you for your service. You’re guidance and mentorship will be passed on to many future deputies. Your story will be retold a thousand times over of your heroism and sacrifice. There is no justice for the loss of a loved one. There are no words for the emotions those left behind will have to face. The one thing we all know is that God gave us a guardian angel today we will call by name. Deputy Sheriff Barbara Pill, end of watch March 6, 2012. God Bless.

Today, I had no words to give loved ones as the calls and messages poured in asking if I was okay other than ‘Yeah’. The comments left on my social media pages tugged at my heart as I saw the support from friends all over the world. The most surreal moment today was when my 13 year old son asked for me when I got home. He and I have a “butt heads and never see eye-to-eye” relationship.

I walked in his room where he was already tucked in bed. He looked at me and asked, “Was she a friend?” I replied, “Yeah. She was an awesome friend.” He sat up with open arms and gave me a big hug. I promised him I would be an old woman before I die and that I would be around a long time to stay on his butt about everything. Then he squeezed me a little tighter and said, “I love you, mom.” That moment made me realize the difference I make. My husband and boys are my strength, and my greatest weakness. I thank God for them.

For those who get upset with law enforcement when you get pulled over, they show up at your door because your neighbor complained about you, or you see cops sitting at a coffee shop and think of the stereotype, think about this:

On a daily basis we get called to the interstate for a reckless driver that turns into a deadly traffic crash; to an area where there was a 9-1-1 hangup with no other information only to find it was a wanted felon waiting to ambush us; to a domestic violence call where a kid beat up mom or mom beat a kid, where a guy beat his girlfriend to death in front of her kids; we get called to the scene where a child was sexually abused by a relative, then the next call is in a suburb where there’s a noise complaint from a neighbor. On a daily basis we arrive on scene with limited information and are expected to solve the publics’ problems in minutes that took them years to create.

On a daily basis we face the unknown dangers of a traffic stop, a 9-1-1 hangup, a fight in progress, a robbery or burglary, or a person with mental issues who went off their meds and isn’t law enforcement friendly. On a daily basis we go hours if not a full shift without eating or being able to stop and use a bathroom. We endure public ridicule at the cost of protecting their freedom of speech.  On a daily basis we are moving targets for the bad guys who hunt us just as we hunt them.

Now think about this: At the end of shift, by the grace of God and our training, we go home. We sit down with loved ones who ask, “How was your day?” You don't tell them the bad.  My reply, “Another busy day. How was yours?”

I ask only this of my friends and family, of my readers, of my critics: Think of your worst fear, multiply it by infinity, and look over your shoulder as you run away. You’ll see us running to face what you fear. It’s not about what we do, it’s about what we’re willing to do.  Today, Barb reminded us of that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Next Round...

It's the first day of the new year and I'm a little saddened that it's over.  Christmas, that is.  I am sitting in my office / dining room looking around at the emptiness.  Just a few hours ago it was full of Christmas warmth.  The trees, yes multiple trees, are slowly being undecorated.  Nothing left but the lights.  A stack of bins sit near the garage door waiting to be stuffed back in the attic. 

There's only one Christmas item that stays out all year.  It started as a Christmas explosion one year before I had our second son.  A neat little wire reindeer was placed on the kitchen plant shelf above the island and forgotten.  At a mid-summer gathering a friend noticed it up there and we laughed.  Again a few months later it was brought up in conversation.  Then finally Christmas came around and we liked not having to climb up on a chair or ladder to get it.  So we left it.  Our Christmas Year Round Reindeer has been a part of our everyday lives for five years and counting. 

This year started off in the wee morning hours with friends and a hilarious game of Catch Phrase, a few hours sleep with a morning cup of Cappuccino (Large!), a stroll through the gun show with a few toys brought home, then an afternoon of cleaning and re-organizing. 

Not a bad to start the next round.  A tall glass of wine is now calling my name.  Cheers and Happy New Year!