Friday, December 31, 2010

Why I am Boycotting New Year's Resolutions

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."
- Mark Twain

I already boycotted sending holiday cards this year, my grandmother will probably never forgive me. I did three and then they just sat there making me feel guilty. My good friend Stacey and I were talking last night over beer, among other things, that people don't send the "brag letters" out with cards anymore. We have gotten used to the instant gratification of Facebook. Everyone knows 5 minutes after you have kissed a boy, bought a new car, had a baby, broken up with your bf, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Shall we dance? Rent the movie.

2010 was a good year reflectively. Not too many f-ups, lots of new things tried (hello, blog) and people met. Regrets are few, mostly not having the guts to do something bigger. Or creating the time to do those big scary things. Maybe this year. Stacey, if you do go ahead with your plans, you have my full thumbs up.

Announcing that I will, finally, lose those pesky 10 lbs won't make it happen, but you better believe if it happens, you will be reading about it on Facebook.

A toast, to all of you reading this for the first time and those who stop in once in a while. Thanks and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Really Deep Thought Thursday

Yes, it's Thursday. And I usually try to sum up something pithy or recycle some sage statement. However, today is different and I am passing along a blog post from Erika Napoletano that fits the day before the day before Christmas. Please pass along. If you want all of the back story, you can find it here on Erika's site -

"This post was intended to go on my own blog, but as I was writing it I realized that somehow, at some deeper level, I was dedicating it to Jason Schippers. I carefully asked Erika if she would like to read it. Afterwards, she said that she would post it, so here we are.

Why I Didn’t Write Last Night – And Why I Want a Christmas Present From You

Last night I had just finished a productive day of work, and I figured I’d go to a bar to write a guest post that’s been laying around for a while. You know, have a beer and see some life around me. Being a writer is nice and for an ex-monk living the hermit lifestyle is fine, but sometimes you just want some fresh air and some people in earshot.
I toted my laptop down the street, installed myself, ordered a beer. Started writing. Stopped.
There was a man right next to me who wanted to know why I was sitting in a plain old cafe with my shiny Mac.

“You’re a writer? Write about me!”

I eyed him carefully. A fifty-ish, slightly nervous but friendly guy, dressed rather less than casually. He looked like a simple but shrewd feller.
“Ok” I said. “Tell me a story, and I’ll write it down. Tell me something from your past that really touched you. Good or bad, but something that had an impact.”
He said we’d have to go to his friend’s bar and he’d tell me. I didn’t really want to because I was in the mood for a good writing session of my own, but he said: “Do me the favor.”
His friend’s bar was, in a word, grotty. Tiles on the wall, a stainless steel counter. A clientele consisting of older men in various states of alcoholic soporification, life fatigue, or by the looks of it: both.
The girl behind the counter was a pretty Colombian number with as keen an eye as you’ll ever see, and a black eye that was just short of being healed.
Broken people. Lost hope, strength, dreams. A lost leg. Resignation.
You know. People. It just happened to be a condensed mix of people who hadn’t made it in life. People who had nowhere near the chance all of us do to make something of it yet.

I Crashed

Here I was, a happy and fairly successful foreigner, in a small working man’s town in Southern Spain. In tune and in touch with the hip and the rich, carving out his little niche. Huzzah.
Surrounded by people who had totally lost their way.
The thing that hurt me most was seeing a girl who, by the looks of it, should have been a stellar student somewhere.  Stuck in a grimy cafe, drafting beers for clients who only wanted to chat her up crudely. And probably feel her up in the same manner. With almost enough make-up to cover her fading black eye. Young, and still unbroken enough to make it forward, but probably in for another few years of beating from her souteneur. That’s a fancy word for a not so fancy job: pimp.
It really sucked. While I am getting into the swing of this new career and being awed daily by the amazing people I meet, somewhere around the corner something bad happens. Someone falls and can’t get up, either in the bathroom or in life.
Every day.
Nothing new eh? Big deal. Life suck and shit happens, correct? Maybe I just happened to walk into a mental asylum and asked: ‘Is the entire world mad?’
Whatever, maybe. Your call.

So Why the Deuce Did I Stay There?

Because I realized that right then and there, I was able to give these people something that cost me nothing at all. In fact, I was getting free beer for it. But I could give them something that they probably haven’t received in more time than they’d care to remember.
In this case, talking to my new friend Julian, it was undivided attention. An hour or so of someone really listening to him. Paying attention to what he says, how he feels, who he is. Because, you know, he’s one of the lost ones. On the street, most people wouldn’t spend too much time talking to him.
With the girl, it was a good looking mysterious foreigner, who chatted with her a bit about Colombia and living in Spain. For a change, a man who did not want something from her. Just a chat, a few smiles and nothing more.
I walked out burning and itching to write this.

This Christmas, I Want You to Give

And I’d like you to start right the fuck now, please. With a cherry on top (and a battle axe in my hand).
Yeah I’m in the seasonal mood. You bet. Even though I’m the guy who vomits first when the Christmas madness starts in October in the shops.
I want you and everybody else, to give. I don’t care what it is. Anything goes. It’s about you giving something, something small and free. Just because you can.
You’ll find that with all the following examples, the person you give it to, he or she will not have been expecting it at all. They may not even be used to it anymore. And they may even not want it, in which case you shouldn’t push through. It’s not a gift if it’s forced upon someone.
Do it. Give. You’ll do a favor to them and to yourself with each of these little gifts, and every other you can think of.


  • A hug
  • A smile
  • A cup of coffee to the guy next in line
  • A book you cherish
  • Some time that you’d rather spend on something else
  • Biting your tongue for a change
  • Speaking your mind for a change
  • Not being so bloody stubborn for a change
  • Standing your ground for a change
  • Forgiveness
  • If you want to give some money to someone or some cause, give it
  • Lots of forgiveness
  • Love, of course (What, are you dumb? Of course love)
Anything will do. Give something to someone, as often as you can, just because you can.
And don’t stop after Christmas. Just do it, again and again. It’ll even become second nature. And it will show you something sooner or later, and I would love for you to send me an email when that happens.
Do it. Give. Thank you.

Merry Christmas.

Yeah, what did you expect? You think I’m going to wait a week to fully ride that Christmas wave like a good sleazy marketer should? I’m not a whore.
Well, maybe a little. Merry Christmas.
Oh, and please share, spread, retweet, Stumble, Facebook, Digg, Reddit and whatever the hell you want to do. Print it out and paste it on a message board. Make a Christmas card out of it. Mail it to your friends. Let’s get this message SEEN, people.
This is published under full free rights. You can do with this message whatever you want as long as you keep the core message intact. Copy, alter, edit, put your name under it, I don’t care. Whatever it takes to get this message out to as many people as possible.
Let’s tell the world that we have all, every one of us, something valuable to give. Let’s start giving. Now."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hybrids - not always a good idea

So I decide on a whim to sign Matt and I up for one of the Sunday tournaments. It's a well thought out plan. Just put some new gear on my recurve and it's not tuned in and I don't have the energy or patience to mess with it, so out comes the compound instead, which I have not shot in 6 months. On the very last end, I start to shoot well. Kept pushing hard with my bow hand, even though it's not necessary with this bow. Hellooo. Oh, well. It was fun and it got the first one out of the way. Realized that I need to focus on just aiming more and just trust the process to work. Good lesson. Will work on getting things set up and ready to go before the leagues start after the new year.

Matt did really well and he hasn't shot in a few weeks, never mind a full round of 60 arrows. Spent the rest of the day relaxing with some friends we have not seen in a long time. Feeling like my batteries are recharged and I might get through the next week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nock, nock. Who's there?

I am in arrow hell. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but there is no easy, concise way to make a arrow selection without a lot of holding your breath and crossing your fingers. Then AFTER you get your shiny, new expensive dozen, you find out if they actually work with your set up. Part of the problem is that we don't have a shop in the area that carries a good selection of recurve shafts that can set up a few bare shafts that are in the ballpark to try before you buy.

There is a golden opportunity here folks. 3 Rivers Archery has this set up for hunting and traditional recurve bows. Unfortunately, their system does not cover target set up. My setup is not even on their chart. Then, you go to Easton and use their online chart and it gives you completely different data. THEN, the common wisdom online is that you go up one - whyyyyy!? Some engineering student that shoots needs to use this as a project and quantify the data for the rest of the world. A perfect thesis.

Finally got my new rest and aperture in. Need to spend some time setting up on Sat. WNY tournament on Sunday morning.  Will get a baseline score and have something to work from for the season.  Once I have that and my arrows in, should be in great shape.  Everything is starting....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seth Godin Thought

Hard is not about sweat or time, hard is about finishing the rare, valuable, risky task that few complete. . . .

Identifying which part of your project is hard is, paradoxically, not so easy, because we work to hide the hard parts. They frighten us.

I borrowed this from Seth Godin's blog.  So true.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I feel guilty

I shot my compound bow tonight... and it was good.

After not using it since, well, April, I picked it up and shot mostly x's at 30 yards without really thinking about anything. Tomorrow is the Annual Turkey Shoot (Paper targets, folks, let's not get silly) so needed to get sighted in and sorted out. We'll see how I do against the boys in camo. Should be fun. Giddy up!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The 10 Fundemental Laws of Archery

 I am reposting this Top 10 list from the Aussie Archery Forum

1. The word "complete" when associated with the phrase "set of arrows" is an oxymoron.

2. No matter how still the day is, the wind speed is directly proportional to the desire to shoot arrows.

3. If you sell off a bow because it shoots poorly the person who buys it will outshoot you with it.

4. You can shoot very well and group exceptionally, or you can obtain sight settings for different distances, but you can never do both simultaneously.

5. The more you need a sight setting, the further your shooting form for that day slides down the tube.

6. When you buy a new piece of archery equipment the first few times you shoot with it you will shoot better than you did before, but once the novelty wares off you will be back to the same.

7. If there is a lost point in the target the person with the most expensive arrows will find it

8. If you finally get over being nervous about whether or not the finger sling will hold, it will not.

9. You are guaranteed to shoot an X if you shoot the wrong target

10. If an item doesn't cost at least $125 then it is likely it will not suffice.

11. The more expensive the arrows the easier it is to lose them on a field.

12. The only time something goes wrong with your bow will be at a state tournament.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Naught to Sixty

Finally worked up to a full 60 arrows this week with the new draw weight. Took awhile and a bit of sweating and shaking, but I'm there with bells on. Cheating a bit using the blue face target, but I needed a confidence boost. Also realized that leagues are starting in only 6 weeks and I needed to get my butt in gear. Points to Dan for signing up so that I wouldn't be the only recurve person. One is the loneliest number. Dan knows his stuff too, so I'll learn some things. Bonus.

One of the really great things (there are many) about working with Doug Ludwig is the access to upper level team coaches. Sent this video to Doug who forwarded it on to Jim White for some feedback.  My right elbow is high when going from Set to Setup (hellloo compound girl, here. Trust me, there has been major improvement already) and my release isn't really following through yet. Yah, the string still feels like it's being ripped out of my fingers right now. Plus, still trying to get rid of my compound follow thru when my fingers hit my shoulder. Somewhere out there is a happy medium.

Looks like the Monday night PTC kids will have to put up with me while I start my instructor's certification. Trying to explain something you kinda, sorta understand is a bit tricky, which is why I have been paired up with Emmie - a sassy, determined 8 year old who doesn't put up with nonsense from the "big kids".  Am going to absolutely enjoy this.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lucky Dog

Our own lucky doggus

Feeling very spoiled with my new equipment lately. And just spoiled in general. I won't go into the long list of people that make my life easier, better or just more fun, but chances are if you are reading this and you know me, it applies to you. So, well - thanks. Life is good.

On the archery front, loving shooting the new bow. Ben (one of the official spoilers above) got me set up to shoot pretty quickly. It's heavier and I need to customize the grip a bit, as it wants to beat up the top of my bow hand. But other than that, it's pretty fantastic. Can't wait for Doug to see it. Will post some video soon. Happy girl here.

And a congrats to my sis, who finally took the plunge and bought her very first bow just last week. Great to have another girl in the game. Can't wait to go shoot with her. Fun excuse to travel and shoot in a new place in the coming year,  plus hang out with some of my most favorite people. Speaking of which, we are planning to go back to shoot Louisville in March. If by chance we haven't actually met, I'd love the opportunity to say hello while there. (See back blogs on our trip with pics if you missed them.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Deep Thought Friday

In the long run, you only hit what you aim at.
-Henry Thoreau

I owe you all a real post this weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

- Wayne Gretsky

Applies here, too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Toxophilite Alert

I happen to know a lot of toxophiles. Right now, at least half of them are sitting chilly in the woods waiting for a 16 pt buck to stop under their blind, turn their heads in the other direction and not move for 15 seconds. Or at least to chase some annoyed doe past them slow enough to get a drive-by shot in the right spot. Even my city-slicker sister caught the bug this year after my oldest nephew got his first deer with a bow (Proud auntie!).

Having grown up around bowhunting it's one of those things that I look forward to, even if I'm not the one dragging in the deer. In Michigan, the day after opening day, go to Jay's in Clare and you will see entire deer mounted like hood ornaments on trucks and vans, sometimes lined up like cordwood on the roof rack, or proudly displayed with the tailgate down to showcase a fancy rack.

The crazy wind from yesterday has stopped overnight and so I am betting there will be more than a few deer on the scale later today. Good hunting everyone.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Deep Thought Thursday (Friday)

Ok, this week got away from me, but here it is.

Question the Rules. Always.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Luck favors the prepared, darling."

 - Edna Mode, Master Designer

I wasn’t a boy scout, but I was a brownie when I was six. Does that count? Remember the brown knee socks with the little orange flag things? So cute. But I digress…

Shopping for gear is time consuming. Not sure what I really need. Case in point - cases. Hard or soft? Airline friendly or car friendly? How much stuff will I need to cram in this thing? I'm not that tall, so lugging a full hard case around with me isn't really appealing unless there are wheels involved. Or someone tall and handsome willing to do it for me. 

So many choices. And this is for the easy stuff. Don't get me started on the more complicated things, like sights. This is when a shop that catered to recurve people would be nice to have closer to us. I like to handle the merch before buying to see how deep the pockets are and how easy it is to adjust a sight with one hand.

The riser is on order. My shiny new limbs are resting comfortably in their loaner "limb warmers." It will be a few weeks until the whole package is put together. Like Christmas, only better. Will have to start thinking of a name to christen the new setup. You know, important decisions.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Once Again, It's Deep Thought Thursday

After having friends over to try a few bows for fun, it got me thinking. What makes people pick one system over another? Recurve vs compound? It seems that the creative types gravitate more to the aesthetic of the recurve style, whilst the engineer/analytical sort need the accuracy and control of a compound bow. I'm not talking practical use, although I've met guys that do hunt with a traditional barebow and more power to them.

Doing a survey here, don't be shy. Pipe up. Chime in. Be counted.
Inquiring minds want to know why you shoot what you shoot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Enter Fall Stage Right

Our very local hooter
I just had the last tomato sandwich of the summer. You know - cheap white bread, mayo, thick slices of homegrown tomato with salt and pepper. Heaven. I'll miss everything I love about summer, but I'm ready for cider and donuts and everything else.

It's noticably darker in the evenings. Rushing to get things done now - dog walked, flowers watered, enough arrows in.  Pretty soon, it will be too dark to shoot outside after dinner and will have to trade the geese and early hoot owls for coffee, hunting stories and trash talk for the next nine months or so.

In preparation for league season, one of the more immediate things I have started to work on is strength.  Take a medium stretchy band or length of rubber tubing, tie a loop that is long enough for you to practice shooting with it. Loop it over your bow so it adds 5lbs or so. Stand in your kitchen in front of a clock with a second hand. Draw and hold for 15 seconds. Rest for a minute. Do two sets of 10. When it starts to get easy, add 15 more seconds. My weakest spot right now is my grip, it starts to unravel at 10 seconds. Let me know if you try it with a compound and how it works for you. I'm not using an arrow, but you probably could if you were nervous about dry firing. Just don't stand facing a window. ;-)

One last little item, here is a free e-book that has some handy-dandy tips. Plus, the site has a lot of information for you DIYers on tuning, arrows, etc., mostly for compound shooters. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deep Thought Thursday

Confidence is the belief that you have something to teach. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing to learn.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Equipment Check (1..2..3 this thing on?)

Archers (especially bowhunters) are some of the most brand-conscious equipment geeks around. Case in point, the ten to twelve pickups and SUVs that I see every morning on the drive in with the Elite Archery, Bone Collector, and Easton stickers covering the back forty on the rear window.

For those of you wondering what I have been shooting lately, here is a look at my current setup. Polaris practice bow (25#), Easton alum/carbon 2-04/902 arrows, a basic sight and Cartel stabilizer. The stunning quiver is leather and painted canvas and made by yours truly.

Nothing super-duper fancy (aside from the quiver), but it's balanced and it works. Will be shopping for a more permanent solution on everything once I get up to weight (DRAW weight, not my scale, thank you very much). Not sure what I want/need yet. Will keep you posted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Tonight was a good night. Now that I have a sight again, I can focus on the dot and just shoot. Had some of those magic moments where you know it's going to be in the center before it gets there. Not thinking about the bow, not thinking about the release. Feels SO good and I've really missed that feeling. Everything is starting to come together. Even while being eaten by voracious mosquitos, when it's too dark to see where the arrows are until you walk down to pull them.

On a completely separate note, I checked the stats of this blog to see if anyone is paying attention to this self-indulgent nonsense. Apparently you are, so as long as you keep reading, I'll keep posting.  <3

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not just another post

Alrighty then. It's definately time to get down to business. Did get to shoot a very nice "real" bow last Monday. My left arm has gone completely to pot from not holding up anything besides itself all summer. Boo. On the bright side, I had a great time using a sight and a stabilizer again. And by sheer will (ok, maybe luck) managed to put a few in the x-ring before the end. At any rate, did well enough to be encouraged and excited.

Today switched up to another bow to add 5 lbs more to start working up to 30 lbs. The next time you see me, check the guns. Seriously though, this is going to force me to get to the gym and do more than hit the elliptical machine. Want to be able to shoot 70m next year. There. I've said it. It's gone public.

Slightly off topic, looking where the elite shooters get to go - check out the backdrop on this World Cup venue in Utah a few weeks ago.
Jamie Van Natta's dad gives a nice day-by-day overview of the event with lots of pics. I think I would be lulled into not paying attention with all those mountains.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Singin' in the Rain

Lessons learned from shooting in the rain this morning:
  You can only get so wet. After that, it really doesn't matter.
  When your hand and your grip are really wet, it is impossible to grab.
   It is possible to focus when you have a water drip on your nose and rain in your eyelashes.
I think my leather tab is sufficiently broken in now.
Shooting in the wet is fun. I highly recommend it. Especially if you shoot indoors all winter along.

Tomorrow I will finally start working with Doug again after many weeks working solo while he was at the USA Nationals and a few other major shoots.  Looking forward to shooting some longer distances, and finally working with an olympic style bow.

"What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Focus Pocus

Finally, after two months of this I've shot a decently tight group with a bare bow.

I am a firm believer in an equilibrium when you have a bad day (or week) that evens out when you go shoot. You are more focused and end up shooting much better for some reason. It's like the world knows that you've had enough for a day and throws you a bone. 

As someone else said to me recently, it's a good feeling when you are on. You don't get it every time. As in last time when I hit everything BUT the target. Fence. Tree. Ladder. Hedgerow. Put a hole in one of my arrows - as in NOT a robin hood, but hit from the other plane - through a hanger arrow. Scratch and dent special.

This made up for it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I was able to coerce Matt into video taping me for a few minutes right before dark so I could see what was really happening behind my back. Take home message - lots to work on, but a couple things are starting to come together. Not feeling brave enough to post the video right now. Will give things a few more weeks.  I am really missing my comfort zone shot sequence with the old bow. At some point will have that back, but for now, not so much.  Right now, it runs this sort of VERY conscious pattern and thinking too hard about every step.

- Set feet (ok, got that down)
- activate yoga toes for strong legs (check)
- flatten back / activate core muscles (yup, mostly automatic)

Now the hard part
- drop BOTH shoulders, slouch a bit (waay opposite of compound)
- check hook, bend wrist, drop elbow (getting better)
-  raise bow without raising shoulders
- drop right shoulder AGAIN
- draw using back, check right shoulder and elbow
- rotate left shoulder back in line
- release using back muscles
- Repeat 50 more times or until I break enough nocks (bad shots hitting ladder)

I keep forgetting to check things off in the same order each time. Used to be able to just say "run the program" (yes, to myself) and everything would just happen as it should.  Helps to close my eyes and feel what is going on. Oddly, the release seems to be the easiest thing at the moment, as I am not thinking about it at all (which is good).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Great Recurve Experiment

Well, it's officially been a month since I started this recurve experiment. And I have to report that I am totally hooked on this. Sorry Cricket. I do miss you. Trying to shoot every day and ink down a new sequence in my brain. Learned enough to know that I don't know enough yet. My right elbow and shoulder continue to be stuck in their old ways, but when I remember to drop them, the shot goes in the middle (or at least closer to). I have two groups on the bag, the shoulder-down group, and the shoulder-up group. My overall group has dropped about a foot and a half in the past week which is comforting. At least I'm getting somewhere now. Learning to hear the difference between an ok release and a not-so-great one (it's louder).

My bow arm is beat to crap with lovely purpleness where my guard doesn't cover. Helllooo elbow, move it or lose it. Literally. My shoulders and back are constantly stiff, but starting to work like they are supposed to. But I finally have my very own tab which needs to be ground down a bit at the top and broken in around the string. Feeling all very official and very 10 years old about it.

Will be less enthusiastic when I start shooting spots again and everything is not in the middle where it used to be. But, for now it's pretty fun.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Be here. Now.

I owe ya'll a post by now, been a bit busy with life, etc...
Was having a chill session on the deck earlier enjoying the view, the birds, the breeze  - as in not canned air - and remembered a tagline from an swanky Arizona spa  - "Be here. Now." Dealing with the crisis du jour, it is so easy to forget and stop for five minutes to look around.

Having to "be here, now" is one of the appealing things about archery. It sucks you in and before you know it, an hour has gone by, your fingers hurt, your back and shoulder are tired and it's getting dark out. Maybe you have hit that zone where each shot feels so effortless, and you just don't want to stop.

One of the guys at work likes to ask, "Lovin' life?" He's moving on shortly to bigger and better things and I'll miss the reality checks. So the laundry and the work I brought home can wait for a bit while I finish this and wait for Matt to get home so we can fling some arrows before it starts to rain. ( just as I typed this, it started to pour, no kidding)

Will post soon on the new system, as it's only been a few weeks in. The real test will be when I get to pick up my own bow again and see what happens.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

...and now for something completely different

I finally got to do something I've been thinking about since the Beijing Olympics two years ago. It's part of what started me down this path. Driving home afterward I was thinking it could be one of those important moments that change where you are heading, but you don't realize it until later. Neat stuff, but anyway...

Since I've met all my main goals for this season and had a nice break from the action, it was time to do some experimentation with new equipment (see the last post), new schools of thought and do some homework. About a month ago, I called our local JOAD program folks to see if I could do an intro to recurve with them. After arriving and being greeted by the free-range hen club (Rhode Island Reds, I think), and the smallest dog I have ever seen, I was introduced to my coach, fresh off the plane from training camp and full of enthusiasm.  After sizing up my abilities (yes, it was intimidating) and pointing out a few things like I shoot far to the left when my eyes are closed (compensating for something), he basically started over from the beginning from the toes up. No bow. No arrows. Just a mirror, a stretchy band and a cool biomechanical system (BEST). If you went to learn ride in Germany, they would take away your reins and stirrups and put you on a lunge horse for a few months. That's the way I felt last night. Baby green beginner. Wowser.

Was sent home with a cool, blue practice bow, some great resource material and a full brain that keeps running the start sequence over and over during meetings when I should be paying better attention.

Not dismissing what I've been doing until now, or the great folks that got me to this point, but there is definately more to this than meets the eye and for sure this is one of those "the journey is the main thing" things. Even if I stick with the compound direction, this system - a well documented Korean system - will fix the holes, even out the rough spots and give me a better foundation and hopefully lots of 300's next season.

If any of you reading this has tried more than one style of shooting - I would love to know where you started and what you ended up doing. And why. The post a comment section has been reset to allow anyone to post without the annoying members only stuff.

(photo of Holly Stover, Junior Olympic "Dream Team" - This girl's groups are the size of a quarter. With a recurve!)


Monday, May 31, 2010


There are hundreds of stabilizers, and I like mine.  Unfortunately, I just tried one I like better. Not much for switching up equipment, but I've known for a while that my system wasn't quite cutting it. The Cricket kicks up when the arrow is released, but since I was shooting pretty consistently, didn't really see another reason to change otherwise. (You more seasoned archers are shaking your heads, I see you.) So it's this weird looking thing-a-ma-bob that looks like you ran it straight into the wall and then hung some weights on it. And it works. I actually had a half second on the spot to shoot before the pin wandered off in search of something else. Cricket stopped trying to bop me in the nose on release and stayed put. Huh.

...My birthday's end of July. Just sayin'. ;-)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aw, shoot!

Sorry to say I have been pretty lazy in the actual shooting department lately. This is my favorite time of year and the most energetic for doing other things. Going to bed tired and waking up when the birds kick it into high gear way before the alarm. Every day feels full to the max.

Been riding my horse on Sundays instead of tournaments, which is the best possible thing for my soul, head, heart and body. Yup, even more than archery. That half-hour conversation with something that doesn't speak your language, yet you know what they are going to do before they even think about it. Each stride, "Put your nose here, please, and balance now and more trot please. The dog will not bother you. Ignore your buddy making a racket. Attention, now canter." The stretch way down over the back after a tough session and the big sigh of relaxation. Ahhh. Neither of us are getting any younger, so the sessions are short and not as difficult.

The only archery related activity lately has been going to see Robin Hood last week. Lots of equine eye-candy there too, and a little movie archery stuff. Actually, I did finish a quiver that has been lingering and have a good idea (and the leather) to start another one. More on that before too long, I hope.

Cheers, A

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gobble, Gobble, Fftttp

I have been trying to figure out a way to sum up my first hunting trip on the drive back to New York.
Early. Cold. Windy. Wet.
But, that doesn't really cover it.

Hiked out in the evening to set up the blind on the property I grew up on and used to know every strawberry plant, chuck hole and rock pile personally. Looks so different now, big trees where there weren't any at all. The house across the street is gone. The trails are still there though. You could drop me off blindfolded and I'd know where I was by the smell of the Sweet Fern and pines. Michigan is sandy, piney, mossy, mushroomy and smells completely spicy. Dad's woods is 120 acres of beech, maple, oak mixed with witch hazel, giant stands of sumac and some of the prettiest rolling pasture ever. He's carefully cultivated it for optimum deer forage for 40 years and they are...everywhere.

The first morning was sunny and the gobbler up the hill on the edge of the field was making a racket before we even got down there. Set out the decoy and Dad started calling while I got settled in. The leaves were still crackling dry and you could hear something big, a turkey or a deer circling around the back of us. Eventually three jakes came in close for a better look right on the edge of where we could see around the blind, between a couple of skinny trees. I figured I'd better draw before they saw me, so leaned forward and took a shot, taking out the edge of the blind and the zipper pull while I was at it. Ooops. Guess I need to sit on a phone book next time. They looked confused but were standing still, so took another shot and ruffled some feathers. At that point, they'd had enough and strutted off annoyed. The decoy was cute, but not THAT cute. Adrenaline rush, yuppers. I really wanted another shot to prove that I could do this.

After that, the weather changed and everything just sat tight for the next few days. We went out anyway and moved the blind to another spot in the rain. Came in for lunch and scared Gigi with the war paint on. She got her own back by beating Mom and me in Scrabble. Twice. Gigi's 96 and still running the show. Later on, I got caught in a time warp eating homemade Mexican with my sis-in-law and her hubby surrounded by new CMU grads and their families. Got to watch the Tigers win and the Red Wings lose and felt a part of Michigan again.

I may have come home empty-handed, but I came home with a full heart.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Calling all Ladies!

Sorry haven't posted in a bit. Finding this blogging thing easy to lose momentum with. Have lots of ideas, but it takes me a little bit to organize my thoughts so I don't sound like I'm on Red Bull when I write. Just ask my sister.

Have found a new distraction with LinkedIn. Not so much to tag the people I see around here, but to talk to people I don't know at all. Am always amazed at what you get from people if you just ask. So last week I tossed this question to the universe at large - What are the barriers to women getting started in archery and is it different between the US and other countries? Yes, this is the type of stuff that keeps me up at night. I received some interesting and well thought out replies from Texas, Michigan, Chicago and Australia, the four corners of the world, and a nice answer from someone on Facebook who gave me his sister's name as a contact. Occasionally, the world feels like a nice, friendly place to be.

I didn't get any solid answers to why more women don't try this. My guess is just a lack of exposure and some predisposed ideas of the type of folks this attracts, but more on that later.

Professional 3-D female archer Tracey Sadler, supports her sport by mentoring girls and ladies to give back to the sport she loves.  Among other ideas, Tracey gave me this little nugget. "The NWTF released a study which indicated women are more likely to take their children hunting and fishing because women aren't as concerned about catching a fish or shooting a deer for themselves but would prefer children to experience as much as possible in the outdoors. When given the choice of staying home with their children or taking their children hunting or fishing, women jump at the latter."  Smart lady, Tracey. I hope I get to meet her at some point. Not being a parent, I hadn't thought of that.

Don Shultz pointed out that only the girls were taught archery when he was in school, apparently a holdover from the Victorian era where only men played golf.  I went to the driving range this weekend. I'll stick with archery, please and thank you. We didn't have archery at my school, which is very surprising when you realize that the first day of deer hunting was always a school holiday. 

It seems that archery has more of a following in Europe and other countries, maybe it's more of a traditional thing there? More research is needed.

If you have been following my rambling thus far, this week is the big turkey hunting adventure, so will post when I get back. The Cricket is ready to go, looking very unrecognizable. It needs a temporary Goth name for the time being, all wrapped up. Wish me luck!

Cheers! -A

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Fever

(Original Post 4/2010  Yes, I have been slacking on my blog. Thank you for noticing!)

I love spring. This morning I am writing from my deck on a beautiful day when I would normally be at work (all the sweeter). In a few weeks I'll be in Michigan sitting a blind with my Dad hopefully with the same fabulous weather. Yup, going turkey hunting for the first time. Actually hunting for the first time. Not sure how I'll like it, but I'm always up for trying new things. So, borrowed some arrows (Thanks, Ron!) and bought some broadheads and now need to get my bow set up because I'm shooting about 2 feet over normal.

It's interesting to see the different reactions of people when they hear about what I am up to. "Never pictured you a shotgunner." Uh, I'm not. This is way more elegant. To barely disguised, "You're really going to kill something? On purpose?"  Let's tackle that one for sec, shall we? I am not opposed to responsible hunting of anything you plan on putting in the freezer. Folks, if you knew where your steak and bacon really came from, you would stop eating it, I promise you. Feel free to disagree or post on this. Would be interested to hear what ya'll have to say on the subject as it gets lots of hackles up.

Interestingly, I did get permission from Ben to change my mind at the last minute, which I thought was pretty cool. I'm not really out to prove anything by attempting this.

So, why the heck am I doing this? Well, to spend some time with my Dad who loves hunting and loves to teach.  When I emailed him that I wanted to do this, he called me immediately and said, "Are you serious, or are you just fooling around?"

Off to the city to get my nails and hair did for tonight's wedding. Will be a nice comparison between glammed up and camo'd up. Giddy up. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Perfect Day

Let me first explain that March in this neck of the woods is normally cold, clammy, windy and nasty. Last Thursday was a magnificent 80 degrees, sunny and beautiful. The kind of day where you open the sunroof and let your winter-white skin feel some heat. And it's hard to concentrate if you have a desk job. Escape is pretty much all you can think about. Lucky me, I had made arrangements to meet Jim Robeson, master saddler, at his shop for some instruction in leatherworking. And yes, the windows were wide open and the radio was loud all the way there.

First of all, the entire building smells like birthday cake from the bakery downstairs. Even the ladies room. Jim works upstairs in an organized and full shop. A very nice person, he took a couple hours out of his day to teach me some sorely needed sewing techniques as well as some proper edge finishing how-to and threw in some sage business advice garnered from his 40+ years of experience in the custom saddle business. He also competes with high powered rifles at 1000 yard distance.  Makes the 20 yards we shoot with our fancy bows and arrows seem mighty short.

What does this have to do with archery, you ask? Quivers, my friend. But more on that a bit later.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Looieville, Looville, Louisville

It's good to have goals. It's even better when you reach them.

Last fall, I read Lanny Bassham's book, "With Winning in Mind", and wrote down a few things I wanted to fix or do this season. One of those was to have a good time when competing. I tend to get a little wound up and then it stops being fun. Last year I really needed a better attitude and finally decided that no matter what happened, I would consider each time I went out to shoot a success if I had a good time. Well, guess what. I started having fun and my scores got better. Shocker, I know.

Another big, huge scary-type goal was to compete at the NFAA Indoor Nationals this year. And enjoy it. So, took a deep breath, sent in the registration and made the non-refundable flight reservations for Matt and I. Decided if I made it through and shot my average without making any big mistakes, I would consider that a success.

May have mentioned that I am not a morning person. Shooting line the first morning was at 7:30 am and 7:00 am on Sunday. Overthinking is not a problem when the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet and you went to bed late. Learned that nerves don't really kick in when you are not really with the program yet either. Was so quiet and unsociable that Julene Hakl called me "Sunshine".  Amazed that people can be that chatty and awake at that ungodly hour, Julene one of them.  By 9:30 or so I started to come around, but by then we were pretty much finished. No major goofs, only a minor panic attack when I thought I had put two arrows in the same spot.

Later, watching the pros shoot, I chatted with the guy sitting next to me who told me about his buddy who came to shoot that year, too. After the practice rounds, the announcer in this massive room said something to the effect of ," This is the first scoring round of the NFAA Indoor Nationals." The friend walked over to the wall and tried not to puke on his shoes. My palms got sweaty and my heart rate went up for a couple ends, but I managed to avoid the usual shakes and goosebumps that I used to get.

However you say it, the Louisville trip was a total success on all counts.

Added later: If you want to see some great travel photos of the area and some of us in random stages of bourbon abuse, check out Paul's photo gallery.  He and his wife Julie are super fun folks to eat and drink and shoot with. They also race cars in the summer, so have lots of good stories.

If you are interested, here are a couple more books on sports psychology. Both are written about horse showing, but the concepts apply to any sport.
Jane Savoie - "It's Not Just About the Ribbons" and "That Winning Feeling"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Introducing Cricket

My bow's name is Cricket and it was love at first sight.  Cricket is a white Hoyt and my second bow.

It's not terribly common for girls to pick up this sport as an adult, or to pick it up at all. After spending last weekend shooting the line with all ladies, and what great ladies they were, I keep thinking about why more girls aren't either exposed or encouraged to try this. It doesn't take a great amount of upper body strength, but you do need  a bit of patience and a good sense of humor while you get the hang of it.

You don't see too many white bows, but you do see lots of pink, pink camo and pink accessories. Bow companies sell mainly to guys. Lots of manly blue, red, flame orange and lots and lots of camo. They slap a little pink paint on and think that's all they have to do. They are starting to clue in, but being manly men, they aren't completely convinced they want some cute, bubbly chick to bounce in and make it look easy. Especially if they are having an off day.

This is my third year of shooting and the second with Cricket. We (hubby and I) started at our local club in the Friday night couple's league that ends the season with a candlight dinner. Fancy. Somehow after the first season, I just never stopped. Would go out after work in the backyard and shoot arrows until it got too dark to see where they went. Takes your total concentration, makes you relax and when you are in the zone, you aren't really thinking about anything but aiming.

This is mainly the story of my journey with something new and unexpected. More to come.