Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More on Myths and Muses

Firstly, Merry Christmas to all of you who pass by here on a regular (or just passing through) basis. Thank you for checking in.We rolled in home just ahead of what is supposed to be the first big storm this winter. Mebbe a work from home day tomorrow, we'll see.

This is sort of a continuation of thoughts on my earlier post - The myth of talent and the muse in the corner.

Have been doing some reading in the car and while sitting in jury duty as of late, and been thinking about how it all fits together with archery, art, motivation, expectation (yours and others) and all that. First off, "Finding Your Zone", by Michael Lardon. Great book if you are a competitor of any sort. I wanted to sort out why I had changed my process and find how to get it back to where it seemed effortless and more importantly, fun. Reading this made me realize that back when I was shooting my compound, it was possible for me to not worry about the scores, focus on each arrow and just enjoy the process. Now I work on shooting in pieces, stalking the elusive holding, my migrating anchor point, and sorting out the stupid head games that have worked their way in.  Recurve archery can be a bitchy mistress and she demands attention to detail like few other things that I have found. When she is happy, unicorns appear in a magical glade and the birds sing in chorus. If you've ever only shot compound, please for the love of all things holy do not naively ask if  "I have this figured out yet." You may not fully appreciate the scathing look you will receive in return.

It's just Process and Form. Deceptively simple and complex. Need this tattooed on my forehead, posted on my monitor at work and/or maybe somewhere more esthetically pleasing. Have some ideas of how to get some visualization practice in that doesn't involve ending with me asleep on the couch with a cat on my chest. The brand new book, Archery, edited by the USA Archery Team coaches, goes into detail on why this type of practice is so beneficial. When you were a kid, we called this daydreaming. As adults, we call this "meditative practice," silly. We daydreamed about accomplishing exciting things, we thought about them all the time, we couldn't wait until we got home to pick up the bat or skates or hop on the pony to go off and conquer worlds.

And now a word on Great Expectations. 

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Ira Glass

Artemis
I agree, but this also works around the idea that you absolutely must accomplish something in the end, and it better be good when you get there. Practice makes perfect, but when you throw the capricious whims of creativity in there you can begin to see why artists end up suffering for their art. Not sure if there is a patron saint or muse for archery, but we might have something there. Actually, I just did a quick search and found that there is actually a St. Sebastian, who sort of fits that bill. If you run across an archery muse, let me know...

Expectations to perform or create to a certain level, whatever IT is, should be centered around the idea of doing because it's fun (For myself, not you. You can do whatever you darn well please and I'm not your mother). Once I lose sight of that, things get muddy fast. As a very type-A worrier sort that is deadline driven and needing to do X Y and Z today, it's HARD for me to swap gears and just enjoy the effing process instead of trying to accomplish something every single time. Letting go of the idea of perfection is a tough one, but very necessary and something that I will always need to work on. I have a suspicion that my big goal for this year will not be a score or form improvement, but just remembering to work hard and enjoy.

So, I am raising my glass in a toast. May this year bring you true joy from whatever makes you happy and many, many hours to do your thing.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holiday DIY

Mucho Manly Gingies
How were your Thanksgivings? Spent some much needed time at home and with friends we haven't seen in  a while. Ate. Way. Too. Much. Back on the workout and eating better (except for holiday cookies!) train this week.

Julie and I worked out a fun way to use those pesky extra quivers and mismatched arrows we all have laying about.  I had a few quivers that I made over the years and hit up Michael's for some on-sale wired ribbon. These are really just big vases/bags you hang, so think of them like a flower arrangement, only way cooler.

1. Pull out ALL your holiday ribbons, those little gold/silver doo-dads, spray paint, feathers, and some faux-holly stuff and spread over entire studio floor.  Sit down in middle of giant mess and match up colors, sizes, etc.

White deerskin and red suede quiver
with reindeer ribbon
 2. Once you have decided which pretties go with which quivers, borrow hubby's iPad to search internet for "How to make big fluffy bow" instructional video.

3. Successfully make bow without getting your fingers permanently attached to it.

4. Use tissue paper to wad into the tubes to keep things secure and removable if you want to shoot with it later on.

5. Julie used some holly pattern fabric hot-glued to a small quiver. Removable later as it's not permanent.

What are you making this holiday that fun and different?







Fabric and raspberry suede (This is a cheat,
as the non-suede side is actually black.
But who's gonna tell?) peacock feathers,
working carbon arrows, curly sticks and gold doo-dads

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday 2012

Following tradition (meaning I did this last year) and in the spirit of Black Friday, here are a few suggestions for your wish list, or for your favorite archer.  They are all things that I have purchased and/or love, or are on my personal wish list (I've been a very, very good girl :-).  



 Got ink? A very personal gift for the person who has everything.






The book "Total Archery" explains in more detail than you imagined was possible the entire shot process by chapter using the Kisik Lee B.E.S.T. system. A requirement for every serious competitive archer.









Adorable and very wearable for any age.


















For that future archer you can't wait to take to the range.

Leather quiver with white deerskin trim and two hand-knitted pockets for the archer who wants to stand out on the line.















Happy shopping!  Let me know if /where you find other interesting items on your own scouting session.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mush!

Are you the dog in the front?
Tongue out and bug eyed?
Everyone is waxing philosphical lately on the merits of Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, I've much to be thankful for, just wishing things would slow down a BIT so that I could savor some of it. My studio brushes have been dry for months (fixing that this weekend) and some weeks I don't see my hubby until Friday. Feeling like the second in line dog, getting pulled/pushed along at top speed, but not in the drivers' seat. By Tuesday, I am swearing it's Friday already. My new archery-busting gym routine has been done once exactly in three weeks. Sad indeed.

This weekend I am spending with my hubby who has the ginormous task of keeping me sane of late (Thanks, babe!) I am not in jail, so he's doing a good job. Most of the stuff I am tackling is completely new every, single day and challenging in a way that I have not experienced before.  For the next four days I am grateful to just have fun, hang out with people I don't see often, cook and create some stuff.

Am also mucho thankful for all of you that keep reading this nonsense and stopping by on occasion. Hope you have time to enjoy things such as they are in your world today as well. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bona Fide

Jess and the universal search for back connection.
So this past weekend was girl time. Hubby went fishing and my sis and I went up to YMCA Camp Arrowhead in Rochester to take the Level II instructors course. We learned to set up a range properly - complete with 8 point buck strolling directly behind the arrow curtain. Apparently there is no hunting allowed on camp grounds. That would explain the whitetail middle finger while walking 20yds away from 10 people pointing bows at him. Seriously, I wish I had my camera for that one.

We covered A LOT of material in a day and a half. As a result, I finally understand the end of the B.E.S.T. shot sequence to the point where I think I can explain it to someone else now.  Also, if you have not been woken up at midnight to explain why the wingspan method of measuring draw length makes sense (typo in the book - you have to divide by 2), you haven't lived my friend.

The group had some archers and some Y directors that had never shot before, so a pretty mixed group. The non-shooters were pretty excited after the hands-on part. Funny how fast people decide this is cool thing to do. Like after 3 arrows. :)

Yes, we both passed the final with a lot of giggling and whispering. We find the same things hilarious and don't see each other enough. So yeah, guess we are lucky we didn't end up in detention. Giggle.

Yes, that is a real dog.
Rizzo hung out with us all weekend.





Saturday, October 13, 2012

What have you done lately?

Yup, that would keep most people
in the woods for a bit longer.

About a year ago, my sis wrote this very funny post on her take on bowhunting 101, Big Hat, No Cattle.

Now that she's had some time to bask in her camo glory, she's back out in their Wisconsin property checking trail cams and seeing some monster bucks. Still no cattle, but hopeful and excited.



Archery = confidence
Ave is also a fantastic ballet dancer. Who says you
can't be a girly girl and shoot, too?











In the past week, I've gotten some pretty awesome texts about her promoting archery in their corner of the world. Just past Chicago where the cornfields start up, she's taking her daughter and girlfriends to shoot for a little "girl time". 

Getting her neighbor hooked on this sport, check.
And I quote, "GIRL POWER!" Nothing more fun than getting someone into something you already love to do.

Getting a lesson on back tension releases, check.
BTW, apparently we both yelp when those suckers decide to go off. I think it's genetic.

Who have you taken out in the field or to the range lately? Show of hands if you took a newbie out.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

All Things Curly

... and a sammie.

Yes, I know those are not really related, but it's been an enlightening and tasty day.

First, the curly part.                                                       

Marwari horse from India. Note the recurve style ears.
It all started with this very detailed and funny story about a bowyer.  Not only does the subject himself have an interesting job (there are people who get paid to do this?!) I have been lately lamenting my lack of time to do the things I love most and trying to sort out what I would do if I actually had the guts to change careers. My ability to create anything other than email has been pretty much at a standstill.  Anyhoo, this led to another article by the above mentioned author, Nils Visser, which got into the whole historical English longbow vs eastern style (recurve!) discussion here. If you are a history/ archery buff, you will enjoy his writing tremendously. Note, the curliness continues.

This just has me written ALL over it. 
Does a girl celebrate her mid-life crisis with one
of these beauties instead of a cabana boy?
Just need to train the pony to haul ass at a slower pace now.
 
This led to the Saluki Bow Co. Handmade, handpainted, unbelievably gorgeous creations with equally inspired quivers (my heart be still!) made by Lukas Novotny. Not only does he make custom horse, longbow, and horn bows, he flies all over the world competing in horseback archery. I missed the brochure back in high school for this one, I'm telling you.

And now to the sammie portion of our story. My friend Alli recently returned from Germany with a recipe for almost heaven.  Good crusty bread, ham, brie and sliced pear. I made ours with crusty bread out of the oven, ham and soft buttery brie and local pears along with a NYS reisling. You're welcome.

Note the absence of aforementioned sammie photo. All crumbs left.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Keeping the round side down

That time right before hunting season is always fun. The shops are full of kids getting their first bow (so exciting!), the ranges are full of people sighting in and tweaking their set ups. You run into people you haven't seen all summer. Everyone's been off racing their cars or weeding gardens or getting married. All good stuff. :)

Watching the rain bounce on the water.
Still loving our kayaks. Took them out in the rain yesterday because we both had the itch to get out there. It poured and was about 60 degrees. Hello rain gear! I was taking pictures with my phone in the rain. No, I didn't drop it, but was, kinda sorta hoping the rain might, ya know, kill it so I can replace it with one that works.

Kayaking in the rain is really cool. It's almost as fun as shooting in the rain. You aren't hot and sweaty, there is a breeze and there are fewer boats out there. Well, I guess there shouldn't be boats where you are shooting anyway. Eskimo rolls are next, but maybe in a pool to start, eh? Oh, and sort of in that vein (loosely) try this yummy "Quick, Turn Me Right Side Up" cake from my friend Steph this week.

Shooting more this week. Put my heavier limbs on just to see how they felt. Haven't used them since March and I felt pretty wimpy. I can't believe I was putting 100+ arrows a day through that bow last summer. Sooo, back on the SPT program to get back up there. Paddling is good for core and upper body, plus somehow my legs are tired by the time we get back, so that's definitely a plus.

More non-archery nonsense.

video


Have a great week guys!
A

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

The word of the day is "Cleeker."
Inessa shoots from the hip.


We had a redneck party a few weeks ago with assorted bows, air guns and fun targets so people could try them. Fun was had. The best part may have been the slushy machine, though. :)

I love the warm weather and everything that comes with summer, but seriously I am ready for jeans and sweatshirts and wearing socks again. Ok, maybe not that last one. But loving the cool nights with the windows open and no humidity. Oh, and applesauce. We live next to a huge orchard and the drops make great cinnamon applesauce.

Went back to stretchy band and mirror work this week with some serious tuneup help from Doug on tap for the next few weeks. Need me some muscle asap. Starting to think about some serious fall practice at this point, new gear, new goals.

Archery is back in season.
Aerosmith's Back in the Saddle Again

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stringwalkers in France

What does rugged terrain, uphill targets, and pumping Euro-tech music have in common?  The World Archery Field Championships.

Yup, this stuff looks challenging.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Who is Gil Elvgren?


I keep seeing these pinup archery girls everywhere lately, and putting my rather (rather, completely useless) useless minor in Art History to work, decided that I wanted to know more about where they came from.

Short version: Gil Elvgren was a well-known commercial illustrator back in the Golden Era of illustration, alongside the likes of Norman Rockwell. His work for Coca-Cola, Cosmopolitan, GE and NAPA spanned a successful career for 40 years. His best known work was the series of pinup calendars painted for Brown & Bigelow.

The complete story can be found here:  The Art and Life of Gil Elvgren



The pinup girl has never gone away and seems to be enjoying a resurgence of popularity in photography and illustration lately. This new one is more 1920's vintage poster style, and her expression means business even while wearing a catsuit.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Recommended Blog Reading

A brand-new outdoorsy blogger  - The Deer Hunter


He's born in mid-Michigan (holler!), raised in the mid-west, following our family tradition about doing fun stuff and then writing about it.  Follow his teenage bow huntin', fishin' adventures.

 Ladies, please direct all fan mail and dating inquiries through me  ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Olympic Countdown

Holy moly, we are almost to August! Where has the summer gone?! Hope yours has been a good one, whatever you have been up to.

I think I have shot my bow a grand total of 3x so far this month. I know. I know. However, the 6-week plan from last year was dusted off last weekend and restarted with some effort. The muscles are feeling it right now, I tell ya. At this rate, I'll be ready for December! Haha!

This will be going through every athlete's mind next week.
Our local PTTC club was featured on the news this week regarding the surge in interest in archery, the video can be found here:  http://www.whec.com/sports/


The Olympics start next Friday, including Archery on 7/27. Check CNBC for the full schedule. I am still trying to sort out how I can get streaming vid from their site on my Android - not looking good. Their app is kind of stinky. If any of you know of  a good workaround, please let me know!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Archery has become the hip new thing


Those of us that have been doing this for awhile are nodding sagely with a hint of “I told you so.”  Girls that shoot are now definitely regarded as cooler by the boys, especially in high-school, where coolness can be tough to come by. Between the Hunger Games, the Avengers movie and the upcoming summer release of Brave, kids and adults alike are getting more than usual exposure to archery this year.  And don’t forget the London summer Olympics, which is right around the corner.

All kinds of  interesting archery
products are available now
Wired magazine’s GeekDad author Jim MacQuarrie coaches JOAD kids along with his wife Terri, and has helped the sport gain exposure through a non-sport avenue by bringing his experience to bear in tongue-in-cheek fashion on how it’s done (or not) in the movies recently. Because of Wired, Jim has probably introduced archery to more hipsters in NYC and Chicago than anyone else, so there are more skinny-jean and fedora types out on the range with the camo’d club these days.  In the Pasadena area the interest shift has been a little older than expected.  Jim and Terri have noticed that, “After Hunger Games, the single largest increase at our range has been women age 25-35, which more than doubled.” They expect they will get more boys after Avengers, and a wave of 6-12 year old girls after Brave.

My new friend Sydney is 15 and is also a dancer.  This girl also loves to shoot targets with her dad and siblings on their property for fun.  Sydney is also looking at getting her small-game license to have even more fun this summer.  Bit by the bug just before the movie rush hit, she’s shot some 3-D this winter as well.
Local shops from Pasadena, California to Fox Valley, Wisconsin are seeing a boost in kids wearing mockingjay necklaces leading their parents in to look at bows.  Both shops where Matt and I shoot have definitely seen growth in league signups, classes and just general interest. Camps that offer archery are expected to get more kids in the door this summer.

Clubs are getting more calls, too.  Doug and Sue Ludwig, coaches for the Points to the Cross club, run one of the upstate NY JOAD programs that introduces kids to Olympic-style archery. Doug is also one of the coaches for the Olympic Dream Team, which is bringing up the talent for the limited spots that will go to London. PTTC has received more interest recently, but they aren’t sure if it’s from the movie buzz or from the upcoming Olympics.


Teresa Iaconi, PR consultant for USA Archery and certified coach, has a similar perspective. “Clubs in general are reporting big increases in beginners wanting to learn how to shoot, and the biggest thing USA Archery is in need of right now are instructors, and people who are willing to start Junior Olympic Archery Development (youth) clubs in their community.”

Just to give you an idea of how much interest has grown this year, www.usarchery.org  quoted 30,585 unique visitors in March 2012, versus 19,206 in March 2011.

It’s an Olympic year. I know this because the P&G tear-jerker commercials with the gymnast mom are already running and my friend Dan is shooting full-time just in case this is THE year.  According to US Archery, the U.S. “currently has the number one world-ranked athletes and teams in six of eight categories, including superstar Brady Ellison, increasing the country's hopes for a gold medal performance in London and making the sport more popular than ever.”  World Archery recently nominated the USA as the “top archery country since 2008”. Until then, Korea had been the perceived power house team to beat in the past along with India and Italy. Lee Ford-Faherty, US Archery Para-Olympic Team member, has definitely noticed a jump in interest in her club from high-schoolers all the way up to middle-aged women where she trains.  Watch for Lee this summer as she competes in London with the USA team.

Fads happen in every sport. Daniel Grundman, owner of Flex-Fletch Products Inc., attests to the fact as their clear fletching is selling like hotcakes due to the Hunger Games using it in the star’s set up.  All teenage girls know that if you look like Katniss, you will shoot like her as well. Amen and pass the fletch glue. I suppose training with Khatuna Lorig wouldn’t hurt either. Lorig has been a great ambassador to the sport at the Olympic level and the Katniss Everdeen character showed correct form throughout the movie due to her excellent coaching.

It’s not just the clubs that are seeing more popularity. Archery themed anything has become easier to find and more mainstream.  Etsy and Pinterest are seeing a burst of handmade quivers, archery themed home d├ęcor, and archery related jewelry now being sold online. Those of us who already decorate with our extra arrows and gear laying around the house now look like we know what we were doing the entire time.  Score. 

  
Of course, I am truly excited that my sport is getting so much attention right now.  Any sport that welcomes and is accessible to so many age groups gets a solid thumbs up.  It’s a sport that kids who may not be quick with a bat or big enough for football can excel in.  It’s a sport where a 30-something woman (or man) can figure out well enough to fill the freezer or hit some foam in the middle. It’s satisfying, relaxing, social and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why more people don’t love it with or without the movies.

*** Since this was written, I've continued to receive more feedback from all over on this subject. It really has become a world-wide growth phenomenon. Folks from California to the UK are continuing to tell me that they are doubling or tripling their student numbers. Woot!

See this article and more in the Summer Issue of Bow Adventures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Be Brave

Looking forward to the "Brave" Pixar movie this week. I'm sure it will be a major hit with the 6-12 crowd, along with bringing BIG hair back. Thinking we will see lots of red haired archers around Halloween maybe.

I posted a question about a month ago on LinkedIn to find out if archery is really getting a boost because of the summer movies. The short answer is, yes.  All over and down under as well. I love LI as one of my favorite social tools, as there is a robust archery online community there.  Now I feel the need to go visit those nice folks in New Zealand and Australia to see for myself. Add one to your class, please! There is a longer article on this subject coming out July 10 in Bow Adventures (aka Bow America) with great input from a 2012 Para-Olympian, writers and coaches around the world.


Alaska trip paddle
My summer of shooting has been sort of sidelined, which has made me grumpy, but also reminded me to slow. the. hell. down. I've remembered what my husband looks like (adorable), my dog, read at least three books, learned to make cheese from scratch, opened my Etsy store and have been thinking about buying a kayak. Last summer I was shooting for two hours, 4-5 days a week. Was in better shape physically but didn't do anything else all summer.  In the last few weeks, I have been starting to pick up my compound again, shooting a little 40-50-60 with friends in the evenings, and reevaluating my archery goals in general. I really don't miss working that hard, but if you want to do recurve stuff, then it comes with the territory.

Goals. I currently have none. It's a weird place to be in my head and I feel a little lost without them honestly. At work I live and die by deadlines, they are an evil necessity. And right now I have some major ones there, so trying to figure out when I will be sleeping and having a life in the next six months. Motivation. Fear is a good one, but not sustainable. Right now, I want to just hop in a kayak and paddle somewhere out of cell reach.

I get a bit neurotic about how I am shooting, which hasn't been great for the past six months. The only summer tournament I am interested in coincides with two straight weeks of travel leading up (no practice time) and a concert that Saturday that we signed up for months ago. My general attitude regarding this whole deal is "meh".  This is not a self-pity party, so much as a "what do I want to do with this?" question. Time management is a very real part of this equation. If my brain is melted by the time I get home at night, how much energy can I realistically expect to be able to put in?

Thinking back to when things were flowing along, my mindset was different. And yes, more positive.
How do I get back there?What things do you do to get yourself out of a shooting slump and excited about it?

(PS - shot my recurve on Monday with some lighter limbs. Felt SO good. Yeahhh!)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

DIY

Friends don't let friends glue their own fletch.

I am pretty handy with modge podge (you DO know what that is, yes?) glue stick, even fletch tape is ok. Super glue and I are not friends.  I was shown how to do this, oh... maybe two years ago. Not hard to do. The trick is to use glue that does not dry white so your mistakes are at least transparent. And keep the top edges lined up. Sounds easy, right? 
Hey, at least I have something to shoot until I scrape everything off and start over.

Speaking of making stuff from scratch, I finally put some of my quivers up on my new Etsy shop - Queen Bee Quivers . They are not your momma's quivers, so if you are looking for something different, check them out here. Going to be adding some other gear bags and just cute bags soon, so check back for more archery gear with a twist. 




Monday, May 28, 2012

Say Cheese

Doesn't that view make you want to just fling some arrows?


I love three day weekends. Stating the obvious, as who doesn't right? Gave me some extra time to play and hang out with some friends I don't see enough.

Was able to snag some new compound gear and get moving on that end this week. Still needs some minor tweaking, but hey, at least I am shooting. Spent some time in the sun shooting 50 and 70 m finally. Felt soooo good to be out there.

Also had the opportunity to learn to make some homemade, from scratch cheese with some archery (and non-archery) friends. See the full story and recipes on Steph's blog. Yes, there were goats involved and I wanted to take them all home with me. Thank you to Sara Turnbull for letting us use your kitchen and giving us the skinny. 

The ricotta in question
My cow queso blanco (fancy-speak for white cheese) turned out fantastic, but the goat mozzerella did something odd and turned into the inedible brick version.  Made THE best grilled pizza ever for dinner, though. It's super easy, so I am sharing the recipe with you. We've trialed and errored our way out of the bugs.

Grilled White Pizza
Oil up some paper towel with vegetable oil and grease up the grates while heating up to 350-400.Turn the middle burner off on a gas grill so you get nice indirect heat.

We're usually in a hurry, so we use the premade frozen version, let it come to room temp and cut in half. Any bigger and it gets too hard to handle.  Work the dough out with your fingers, lay on a peel or a really large cookie sheet.

You can almost smell the garlic...
Sauce
2 cloves garlic, diced fine
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 t salt
pepper

Mix and let sit for at least 10 minutes while the grill is heating up.

Put your dough on your peel and oil it up good so it doesn't stick. Place on the grill face down for 5 minutes.  Pull off the grill, flip and oil up the other side. Flip back over and slather on your now garlicky oil. Add fresh mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta (used the homemade, drier version from above).

Slide back on the grill for another 4-5 minutes. Watch so it doesn't burn.

Pour a nice glass of white wine and you have dinner.




Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Year Ago...

It was waay too nice out for the world to end, as yesterday was first day we have woken up to sun and not the inside of a golf ball.  I am apparently one of the naughty ones, as I was still here sitting on the porch with my coffee listening to the turkey cackle in the hedgerow. Good thing, too, as it was a great week for shooting and I want to keep going.

You ever notice that the more you do something, the more you want to keep doing it? Not like a habit, but you improve your skills and get excited about it and want to go out and do it again as soon as possible. Yup, I am in the happy space right now. Good light bulb stuff happening and the fact that it's not drizzeling is definitely a plus in my book.

After the lawn and laundry chores were done, Matt and I met up with some friends for an impromptu 40-50-60 shoot. First time out - we were looking for zombies in the woods. Found Grant's new turkey decoys instead. The shooting part was great - I had one pin marginally set for 40 yds and had to guess for the rest.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Zombies ate my fingers

'Glamour Zombie' photo (c) 2011, jamesrdoe - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/It's been an unusual weekend. Not only does my right hand looks like zombies have been snacking on my fingers, but it really limits what I will be doing this summer. With any luck, I will get out of weed whipping for a while. It also seriously puts a lid on any shooting with fingers I had planned, so ...Cricket to the rescue.


Confirmed that my current A/C/Es will be just fine. In the process of finding a scope for my extra sight, which I am hoping will be adjustable enough. My white W&W stabilizer looks totally kick-ass on it and it shoots so smoothly now. Should have things more or less sorted in the next week or so.


The good news is that I love shooting this bow. It's truly relaxing for me, so thumbs up in that regard.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Field & Stream

See the little distance tag behind my feet
 
What do swamp, uneven ground, wind, woods, and yardage from 80yds to 15 ft (yup feet) have in common?


Give up? Field archery!

Kat the recurve did it's first field round today. It was a fantastic and sunny spring day in NY, so we hit the road for something new with Ricky Smith, who hadn't done this either. See how tiny those targets look! We tried this last year, but I had my compound with me. This was definitely more of a challenge (can't do 80yds with this setup). But who can argue with a few hours well spent outside.  After the past few weeks of not shooting, lousy, cold weather and travel, this is just what the doctor ordered.

Off to tackle a new week.





The guys were pleased with their distance rounds
Who forgot the binoculars? ;)





Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Hello! My Name is Grit"

Check out the Montana Writer for more Grit

Remember me? Uh, yeah. It's been awhile. Name tags may be needed at this point. It's been so long that Blogger now has a new look. Who do they think they are? Facebook?
 
The indoor season ended and I needed to think about some other things for a bit. Work and worry have sort of taken over my brain lately and it's time to even the balance out. Plus, our incredible 80 degree weather in March disintegrated back into snow and ick and I am bored with shooting indoors at this point. The appeal of shooting in the driving rain in 40 degrees has sort of lost its appeal (It had appeal?) as well. Am I turning into a fair weather shooter? Hoping to shoot a little field archery with some friends this weekend and get back in the groove.

Speaking of "stick-with-it-ness" or Grit, this was the theme for the day at last weeks FUSE conference and design and branding. I highly recommend it if you have the means. My brain is still turbo-charged with all kinds of ideas big and small.

On the archery plus side, did get a set of new v-bars (Ooh, they are so pretty!) and need to use them. They do help to make those groups tighter, but for some reason I had this suspicion that it wouldn't make that much difference. Silly me.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

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. :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Movie Madness

Facebook is at it again. All of the "likes" have been dumped with the new timeline swap. Sorry guys!
Please "relike" if you wish. Not making anyone, but there's a free pony in it if you do. ;-)

The NFAA Indoor Nationals are going on right this minute without me. Kinda sad about it, it's a really fun shoot and we always have a great time there. Ya know, with all the baby goats in the hotel, good restaurants, bourbon flights and fun company. It was Vegas or Kentucky and obviously we went way West this time. If you are there, give the Creekwood shirts some applause and cheering for me, will ya? And make it LOUD. Ricky Smith is in the Pro division this year. He's seriously ready to bring it, so look out Jesse. His fiance, Chrissy just got her own lovely bow just a few weeks ago and has no idea how well she is doing already. Next year will be great fun with both of them competing. Last year, I shot next to Brandi Mantha, who was fun to meet and is also an author. Here's a great article by her on  how she feels about this sport.

Entirely switching gears here. Spotlight, long dress, killer shoes, "I want to thank the Hunger Games for bringing archery mainstream and making it look so cool onscreen." Seriously though, between the movie hype and interviews of Khatuna Lorig, archery is hopefully heading back into a revival and I love love love that the girls are coming to ranges everywhere wanting to be Katniss.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Drum Roll Please...

Time is up. Put down your pencils. Got some really good names in the hat from you all, but the winner of the Lancaster Gift Card is...

Scott Greig, Huntley, IL  - "Kat"

And I loved the reason he gave. "You could go all Shakesperean like Katherine (Taming of the Shrew) call it Kat for short. She was wild, bad tempered and drove the boys nuts."  Hello!

Some of the best submitted names were (in no particular order)
Iris (cause it's the same color as the flower)
Queen Bee
Maude
Magnum (that just made me laugh so hard)
Stiletto
Stella
Flexi Lexi

Thanks to all who entered, it was fun! My bows always have had a name and it's been almost a year now with this one and no name.

On another happy note, since it has been SO crazy nice and warm here, we've been able to shoot outside all week. Except last night when I met up with a new friend Sydney and her dad who came out to shoot for a bit. So happy to see another girl rock her bow! If she decides to get serious about this, look out everyone.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekend Post

It's been a week of non-archery guys, sorry!  The spring mud is on it's way out so the house projects are taking back over and I'm heading out to de-yak my favorite horse. He grows enough winter coat for three, and is too old to be that sweaty this early in the year. I will be nice and muddy, dusty, and hair covered by the time I get home. Ahh!  Hope everyone is having a great weekend <3

Don't forget to enter your bow names for the contest! $25 Lancaster Card if yours is picked!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's the Name My Bow Contest!

Some of you know of Cricket bow, my lovely Hoyt compound that got me into this awesome sport.Thanks to Nick Viau, one of the columnists at BowAmerica, I am posting a "Name My Bow" contest. Nick, your entry is duly noted! 

What's innit for you? Bragging rights of course, and a $25 gift card to Lancaster Archery to the person who submits the winning name.

Gotta have a few rules.  Enter as much as you like by email. Your information will not be posted or used to spam you, so don't be shy. The winner will be contacted for their mailing address. Contest ends March 24th (2 weeks from today).  I'll post the top ten entries along with the winning name.

What are you naming?  The she-who-must-be-named bow is a Win&Win Inno with white, blue and yellow stripes. Red string and sight. Fierce, gorgeous and classy.

Very excited to see what ya'll come up with!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The myth of talent and the muse in the corner

This morning’s musings are a bit of a mashup on creative juices and what that has to do with archery are brought to you by Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald and Madeleine Peyroux.  Creative people, I want your input here on whether this rambling makes sense to you. Let ‘er rip.

I have been lately enjoying some of the older TED Talks on creativity. If you have still not checked them out, make it your Sunday morning webby destination with a big cup of coffee.  Totally worthwhile.  After watching Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love and Adam Savage from Mythbusters, talk about how they deal with what the modern idea of what a muse is and keeping the engine running , it got me thinking about the parallels between the creative process (also a big part of my life) and the learning process for perfecting your shot.  I know a lot of archery friends and family that are compelled to make stuff just to get it out of your head. You know who you are. 

Finding the Zen zone in practice and execution. That addictive place you want more of, when the shot comes off easy and hits the X, or the idea that strikes you when you have paper and pen in reach. You know you want it. It feels amazing. Eventually, it lasts longer and longer and is easier to get there in the first place.  It applies to the physical as well as the mental side of things. When the words pour out of the keyboard or the painting materializes in record time, it’s a combination of everything coming together. Perfection.  I know, I know, I used the P-word. Naughty.

Trickier still when you add in the notion of a muse. Not sure it applies equally to archery, but people that you train and shoot with on a regular basis definitely apply as motivation. As in the kick in the ass when you need it most, or just a helpful observation when things are wonky and you can’t sort it out.  I have to admit I love the notion  of the dead-sexy (male) Greek muse hanging out in my studio and bringing me chocolate cake and great ideas. Alas, hubby does not. ;-)  Ideas come from everywhere if you are paying attention.  The light at a certain time of day or the funky gourd lamp you saw online. Can you make a quiver out of a gourd? I’ll probably try it at some point.  In the good old days, the muse got the blame if the experiment didn’t fly.  If the gourd flops, it’ll just gather dust until I toss it on the bonfire pile out back.

The myth of talent. This is a highly debated area.  My personal view is that those who work the hardest, usually overcome. Look at all of the para-archers who figured out how to shoot without an arm, leg or a set of eyes and then set records. Proof that there is no crying in baseball.  You still have to show up and do the work. You need to be willing to fail when the experiment doesn’t work, too. That part is the hardest for me.  Same for the creative stuff.  The kid who spends his recess (Do kids still have recess?) drawing is going to be the rock star art director, but maybe without the jump shot. You have to learn to see before it can go on paper. Practice and experimentation, the process is different, but if you are an artist, your brain is there 24/7, looking for pattern, color, keeping your filter open and always looking for the missing magic. 

My personal experience tends to run hot. I learn best under pressure and my friends confirm by laughing loudly that I am a “jump in with both feet first” kinda gal. Start a blog with not much writing experience, hold nose and jump in.  It’s helped me find my own voice.  There’s no testing temperature with a toe first. Swim, dammit.  

Whatever feeds your head, do whatever you can to keep it happy and productive. Korean food with a creative friend, or get some tune up lessons from a local pro. If you are into other sports or activities, there are likely useful parallels you can pull in on balance or timing.  Hang out more where your ideas seem to find you. Except maybe in the shower. That just makes you late for work.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What really happened in Vegas



I waited to post this as the new BowAmerica issue comes out today. Check out the whole issue, some really great articles in there. Lions and tigers and BEARS, oh my!

So you may have seen the teaser, but here is the real story...

What do you get when you put all the current major archers in the world, archery manufacturers, gambling, prime rib and beer under one roof for a week in Vegas? A great time, that’s what! Held back-to-back with the World Archery Indoor Championships, the NFAA Vegas Shoot offered the opportunity to watch and compete against almost 2,000 archers from the USA, Mexico, and Europe and shoot next to accents from as far away as South Africa and Australia. Most of the teams stayed on to compete at the NFAA shoot and mixed up the action in both the Championship and non-championship flights.

Bows, bows and more bows. It was a bit unreal to see bows moving through the casino, on the elevator, escalator, arena, and generally everywhere except maybe in the pool. The folks that were not there for the shoot had lots of wide eyed questions when riding up on the elevator along with strung bows with monster stabilizers attached. The elevator was the place to be. We ran into almost every “name” and their spouses, parents, coaches and kids on the elevator.  I did my share of elbowing Matt while mouthing, “OMG, do you know who that is?!”  Yeah, I’m secretly still ten.  My favorite elevator moment however, was when a West coast guy sporting cigarette jeans, seriously pointy shoes and giant Elvis pompadour along with his equally stylish gal stepped on after a camo’d Midwestern teenager and his mom.  I so wish I could have whipped out my camera to capture the expression on that kid’s face. Classic!

On the floor, it was a fantastic culture clash with the typical American traditional barebow guy sharing a bale next to a Russian Olympic recurve archer. Ladies and men competed against each other, no separation in the flights. There were no points for style given, but maybe there should have been. Texas sized bling with head-to-toe pink accessories were spotted along with 3 inch heels on the ladies compound line. Hey, when you look good, you shoot good, right? Shooting styles varied tremendously. Everything from flamboyant French releases with the continental double kiss for good arrows, to the quiet, ultra-controlled USA team machine style that continued to win medals. I spent an unforgettable hour watching Miranda Leek, Holly Stover and Jennifer Nichols before going to shoot my final day.  Having those correct mental impressions actually helped my release later on.

Para archers were out in numbers, including an exceptional blind woman whose guide dog napped patiently off the line between ends. Yes, I said blind. To see these guys and gals shoot, and shoot well mind you, is amazing to watch. Plus, they were lumped in with everyone else for scores, no special treatment there.

Impressive final shootouts beginning the night we arrived under spotlights, rock music and live online coverage that set the tone for the week.  (World Cup finals photo) I have no idea how you prepare for shooting under those crazy conditions.  It’s critical to have nerves of steel to have the announcer holler, “NINE!” and keep it together for the next shot for a ten. I tend to turn fire engine red while shooting anonymously in a crowd without the benefit of an announcer when I hit a bad shot. Most of the guys and gals at that level are used to it, but getting to that point is pretty extraordinary. YouTube posted these live all day and a great overview of the venue and all the team and individual finals can be found here. 

We had a great time and would definitely go back again. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What's on your archery bucket list?

Where do you want archery to take you that you haven't been yet?  Alligators in the deep South?  Alaska caribou? Clout distance round?  Unmarked field archery? Or is it a particular person that you want to shoot with?

Where has it already taken you that was unexpected, but turned out to be great?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Friday, February 24, 2012

One Step Back

It sucks when you get to the point of really being frustrated with your hobby, or anything you take seriously. So the next few weeks will be spent fixing some of the stuff that has been brought to my attention and getting back to work. Here we goooo....

Pic from almost a year ago exactly. Note vertical alignment.


Pic from two weeks ago...


Leaning to the inside, bow is all kinds of crooked. Awesome. Definitely answers a few questions.

Need to start taping my shots again. Can't fix anything until you know where to start.  Will see if there is any difference in a few weeks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Losing my shit and finding it again

Miss Ball O'Sass
Competition can bring out the best or the worst in people. Needed a smack upside the head last week. Being a perfectionist is one of my weaknesses and also one of my strengths. I tend to get all caught up in the metrics of performance and the numbers, and lose sight of what is important – the “why are you doing this” part. At work, it usually keeps me from screwing up too much. But I get in my own way sometimes to the point of being really miserable across the board. I was disappointed in how I shot at Vegas, thinking I should have been much higher up and beating myself up for it. I’ve slouched back into some bad habits and they get worse under pressure. "Why is my elbow thinking we are back in compound division?!"  Have been fighting nerves for the past month and that’s not like me either.

I was completely miserable. The Ball O'Sass wazinthehouse. Nothing worked. Everything sucked.

It took my husband to point out the obvious, since I don't spend much time self-analyzing. Being a first-born sibling, I generally put waay too much pressure on myself to getting things perfect, even as a kid. Habits and hard wiring die hard. Usually a good run clears my head and things move on their merry way, but not last week. I'm also impatient as hell, which adds to the fun. Archery is a Love/Hate sport. You love it when things are going swimmingly, and want to throw your bow out the window when it's not.

Perfection is not a goal. Please go up to the board and write 100 times....

What IS important? The journey, the practice, shooting with the people that remind me WHY this is fun in the first place. And I am writing this to remind ME, not you, that this is important. If you need to be reminded, just let me know.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

All Archery...

...and no play is definitely making me feel like a dulll girl.  Past few weeks seem like mostly work and/or archery. Feeling like I need to spend some time in the studio makin' stuff for a bit and getting back to my roots. Things that make just me happy and not worrying about if it's salable or what the "messaging" is. Have a couple of quivers and from scratch arrows that need to be finished. Eventually would be nice to have a site to showcase things that I actually finish.

Like this...
I also want to redo my room and make some better makin' space. A big center table with storage underneath. New color walls. More book storage (as in not on the floor). I have too many books everywhere. Bigger wastebasket. A new chair or taller yoga ball. Taller tables so I am not bending over getting a sore back.

Storage is an issue with two sewing machines, two easels, three tables, bins of leather and every kind of marker, pencil, paint and pen you could ever need. Need a silk stretcher? Got it. There are beads, wool, and yarn making me feel guilty for not using them in something. Curled peacock feathers, check. Wax stamps, check. Horse bits, portfolio bins, antique blood pressure cuff thingy, clear plastic tubing. I never seem to toss anything as I might need it sometime. Or it will give me an idea for something new.

Tomorrow, I'm heading upstairs to spend some quality time. Maybe the entire afternoon. The house can wait another day to be cleaned.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time for a Thursday Thought

"The question
isn't who is going
to let me; it's who
is going to stop me."

- Ayn Rand

Exactly. Usually that's me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hangover not Included

This was held in the South Point Arena for the World Cup, the
shootoff finals and for practice. My fav ad in the horse stall area.
Well, we survived Vegas. Five days unplugged was refreshing. Didn't watch tv, did watch more elite archers in one building than thought possible. Met pretty much everyone who is anyone in the elevator at one point or another. Saw some... um, let's call it interesting... shooting form. Witnessed some pretty amazing fashion choices like 3" heels on the Championship line. Learned that I shoot like absolute garbage if I have a massage first (Focus? What?!) Hung out with fun people and didn't think about work once.

BTW, Elvis was in the building. And on my elevator (I told you).

The whole experience will be posted in gory detail on March 5 for the BowAmerica issue, so stay tuned...

Happy Valentine's! <3
A

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cold Weather Practice - Feb Issue BowAmerica

Here is the newest article in BowAmerica!

Don’t let weather control your practice schedule! In Sweden, they say there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. You can and should practice in all kinds of weather, as you never know what you might run into during a tournament, or a hunt for that matter. If you compete on outdoor ranges, you should be comfortable with wind and rain, and in some cases some wet snow. If you are prepared, it can be a lot of fun. Most of us don’t need to be out in sub-zero weather, unless you live in Alaska. Find a nice, friendly indoor range with hot coffee for those days. Preferably with some friends who tell good jokes. Or try Hawaii!

Stretch out. Unless you are Chuck Norris, cold muscles get hurt. Your old high-school coach agrees. Bonus, you will feel less old the next day.

Ouch!! That's not supposed to have a bend there.
Be nice to your equipment. Protect your bow limbs from temperature swings. If you have wood laminate limbs, as many of us do, don’t leave them in the freezing car all day and then go practice in a warm room. Give your equipment enough time to adjust before shooting. Older bows seem to have more poundage swings in the cold below freezing. Test yours if it’s been in the family for a while by leaving it in your car overnight and see what it does in the morning. You might need to adjust your sight accordingly to keep from shooting high. Check your arrow flight in the cold. Different shafts types flex differently if below freezing. Experiment ahead of time so you can anticipate and make changes when necessary.

Know how the cold temperature changes your form. Lots of people have trouble when cold coming to full draw, especially when hunting and pulling 60-70 lbs. If you hunch your shoulders because you are chilly, you will lose some of the strength and connection in your back. Also, wear enough warm layers to keep your core limber. When your core is cold, it’s hard to achieve proper alignment. If your metal grip is turning your bow hand into an icicle, you can wind a wrap or two of self-stick bandage around your grip to keep the cold directly off your hand. Your local feed store has it in the equine section in colors to match your bow, including hot pink.

Layer. Layer. Layer. Recurve people work up a sweat while shooting. Lots of info on outdoor wear has already been written. Wear high-tech fabrics and things that breathe. Cotton = wet and cold later on. Wool is great if you can find it in a close cut option. If you are like me and bolt for the outdoor range as soon as the snow melts, you will be shooting in the rain. You won’t melt, I promise. Rain pants and a well-fitting jacket that doesn’t get in the way of your bowstring are key. You might want to try a chest protector over your jacket to keep it from snagging. Some tall stomper rain boots are great for holding down tall wet grass when looking for lost arrows. It’s not a fashion show.

Finger shooters have cold fingers. I’ve tried glommets, but the feel is different, so I don’t use them much unless the temperature is around freezing. Mittens are not an option for me, as my bow needs to swing back on follow through. Make sure your pressure points (release fingers and palm of bow hand) don’t lose feeling. Try your release with your hunting gloves on. You won’t have time to take them off before that buck moves behind the tree.

Play Garage Band. If the weather is wet, you can still shoot if you have a garage or covered deck to shoot out of. I also shoot more arrows each end to limit all the trips back and forth to pull. I’ve even heard of a person that would shoot at distance from his window in the winter to a target outside to get in 70m or 90m practice. Hmmm, I wonder how far it is across the pond…

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ritualistic

Tea party shoes!
Don't mess with my rituals.

We all have them, from the order of how we get up and ready in the morning (I am coffee, shower, dress, brush teeth), to just preparing that perfect cup of coffee in the first place. It allows you to savor the moment, something we don't do enough of on a daily basis while we are busy trying to cram two hours into one. If you are female, we love the ritual of getting dressed up to go out. Hair, makeup, shoes, the whole package. Cooking on the weekends, same deal. Chopping, wine, stirring, tasting, more wine... One of my friends enjoys getting new ink on a regular basis, a very involved ritual with lasting results.

Archery really can be seen as a mini-ritual for each arrow. Same plan, thoughtfully executed over and over.  Ideally, there is just you, the bow and your arrow. The Japanese have this down to a beautiful science.

I don't mind getting interrupted mid-ritual during practice. Your friends stealing your arrows, the puppy gettin' into the squeaky bone in the next room, or someone having a giggle fit (Oh wait, that was me). It's good practice for the idiot that I encountered today (who I hope is reading this). If I am shooting for a score, it's wise to NOT talk to me while I am at full draw. Please, do not under any circumstance tell me to let down unless you are my coach. If you can't keep your arrows and/or stabilizer in your own personal space without banging into someone else, it might be time to take up bowling instead. He wasn't trying to mess with me, just unbelievably clueless. Those who know me well would be shocked to hear that no heads (his) were taken off. I breathed in. Breathed out. Told my inner bitch to sit this one out. Continued my ritual of visualizing my shot sequence. Nice end with a decent group. Sucks to be you buddy.

How do you recapture your mojo after your ritual has been interrupted?  Do you have your own ritual before you shoot to get in the right mindset?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All About Attitude

Y'all get a two-fer this Thursday.
This needs to be my mindset in two weeks...


Raawwrrr!
 Am I there yet... not quite. Suggestions welcome.