Sunday, September 22, 2013

Archery and Meditation

I don't sit and meditate but when I shoot, especially outdoors on an otherwise empty range, I often get to that place of a clear mind and focus for each shot that is so important for good results.  It's also one of the reasons that I enjoy this sport so much and keeps me relaxed when my week gets crazy. Those four minutes of inside head time for each end are only filled with the "run the program" mantra, waiting for the sight picture float into alignment and then boom. Repeat for 60 or 80 or 120 arrows. At the end of two or so hours of practice, you see a big change in most people with heads full of the daily grind stuff, to someone smiling, cracking jokes and shooting well.  Some people shoot to practice for hunting season and tune up new equipment, but I would hazard a guess that most of the die hards are out there to escape for a bit before returning to real life.

If your shots are being affected by distraction or nerves, pick a single word that you associate with someplace calming. A patch of woods up in the mountains, the ocean, a white rail fence that goes for miles. Associate that word with that place and repeat it in your head to bring you back to that mental picture for a couple of seconds. Then go back to your shot process with a calmer state of mind and more focus.

Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, is short read, but I pick up something different each time I read it.

Do you see your practice time as meditation, or something else?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cricket meets back tension

All in the same spot. Well, at least I'm consistent!

Well, I finally caved. Borrowed the hubs release and screwed up the courage to use it. After shooting fingers for so long, that thing scared the $hit out of me. But, after the first couple arrows (with an audience, jeeze) I sorted out how to get it to go off, complete with flinching, closed eyes and decent groups at a blank bale. Some days I'm such a baby. Haha.

Fortunately, shooting with the BEST system for a few years makes it really easy to use the right muscles.  Thinking about the aim sight picture and not getting the clicker in the right place at the right time = major frustration. So, this may well be the answer. You have the wall (ie. clicker) and you are good to go.

Pretty sure that Khatuna will be someone to be reckoned with before too long with hers. I have a feeling she will pick this up even faster. :D

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Archery Discovered - Guest Post

Karen about to take down some orcs...
or maybe a chicken.
It's been a while since the blog had a guest poster. This one is by Karen Noske. She is an author, blogger, an otherwise creative lady and one fun person to work with on the range. And she kinda sorta likes archery. ;-)
Read her blog here -

When a friend of mine sent me a link to the new Hobbit film and directed my attention to the FEMALE elf who was busily twanging the hell out of an orc, I heard a strange, insistent voice in my (secretly pointed) ears as I watched. It was my younger self (apparently born in either Sherwood or Mirkwood), telling me to get back to the archery I’d first enjoyed at a long-ago summer camp. NOW! When your soul sends a message that strong, you listen. At least I do. I immediately looked up nearby archery classes, discovered Points to the Cross, and signed up for a private class the next day. 

Couch Doug informed me—after a brief, action-packed tutorial—we were going to shoot arrows today. Today?? Nervous but game, I took ahold of the bow, trying to remember all his instructions. Instantly, all my nervousness was gone and a weird calm came over me. The world narrowed to a tiny point at the end of my arrow. I pulled back; I released the arrow; I felt my heart fly with it. “Woman,” said Doug, “you’re a natural.” I thought my heart was going to burst with happiness. Since then, coaches Amanda MacDonald and Sue have said similarly encouraging things as they guide me in this most elegant of physical arts.

I’d sound pretty corny (like I haven’t already!) if I shared all the sensations that flooded me that first twilight, but I will confess I cried tears of joy on my way home. I’m so grateful I’ve rediscovered something obviously more than a sport to my soul. Archery continues to be a spiritual experience and a promise fulfilled. Sherwood, your wandering child is back home.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Pickin' Blues

This weekend we went camping with some friends which was great and when we got home, I went blueberry picking at my favorite local patch.

Picking in the damp early morning before the dew burned off at Moody's blueberry farm in Michigan is a childhood memory for pretty much all of us that grew up in the Mt. Pleasant area.  Sadly, they are no longer there along with the highly over-autographed weighing barn where you signed your John Hancock in sharpie - right on the wall! Scandalous! It was fun to find your name from the last year and see who else you knew scribbled up there.

Batter Up!
Blueberry and tart cherry
My family makes a recipe in the summer called Bublanina, which I guess translates roughly in Czech as "blueberry cake." Monday is my birthday, so I decided to make this one for myself and take one to work. Use your favorite yellow cake recipe, or in a pinch a box mix. I think scratch cake is just as easy.  I used my Betty Crocker book circa 1987 for Yellow Cake. Use good eggs. The darker the yolk, the better the batter will be.

2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
1 C milk
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (I used my homemade batch vanilla)
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 and lube up some round pans with baking spray. This is important, as the cake will stick otherwise when you try to flip it out. Add everything to your mixer, beat on high for 3 minutes after everything is incorporated nicely. Divide into your pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes. The cherry needed five extra before the knife came out clean.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and have a nice glass of cold milk with your slice.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's all in the Genes

Seriously, how cool is this? Love that everyone is shooting barebow and that's all!
Archery runs deep in our family, just didn't appreciate how far until recently.

Over the 4th, we did a family reunion at my mom and dad's place with the cuzin's. It was one of those really long days spent outside in perfect weather, a few red party cups, grilling, and lots of bows and arrows. There were 12 of us there who either shot or shoot (longbows don't fit in carry on compartments). Followed by noisy firecrackers and sparklers at dusk after a big dinner.

After Mom sent the pics around to the rest of the family, she got these from one of my distant cousins (who I am not sure I've even met!)

Who brings a bow to a gunfight? This guy!

We had a variety of bows and archers - kids, moms, g-pas, state-o-the-art compounds and elven longbows.
Our lane was the old garden behind my folks' house, complete with climbing beech that looks a lot smaller and closer to the house now that I'm an adult.

Meredith showing us how it's done old-school

The boy's morning line
Comparing gear

Girl's morning line
No arrows were lost, but a few were broken.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Waffle Round and Zombies

Ominous clouds = you will get drenched later

Hoo, boy. Well, we had the waffle round last weekend. It was mostly a good time, the weather was dicey, the field well organized and we managed to stay out of trouble (mostly).  Having shot 70 m just once before we went, I had less trouble with 70 and 60 then 50m. Have decided I quite like 60, actually. Right now, 50 m can kiss my you-know-what. 30 m - we're good.  Do me a solid and have a chat with 50? Much appreciated.

Midway through the first day, we got a super soaker. As in soaked to the skin, running down your scalp wet, watching your arrow disappear after 10 yards into gloom. As in not being able to hear your clicker as the rain is so loud. As in being SO relaxed, I totally didn't care. I love shooting in the wet. Then the sun came out and we all dried out more or less. Except for the squelchy shoes.

Had all NYC ladies on my bale, one who had never seen a cow up close before. Or deer roadkill. Culture shock. Nice people and good to shoot with, though. Also nice to be at a shoot where the recurves outnumbered the compounds.  

I had to sort through some bad habits (again) and then also came to the conclusion that I need to do some bow tuning and sort out some replacement bits and bobs as my groups are not where they should be. Lesson learned. Look out States, here we come. Will be more fun as we will know other peeps there. :)

Moi in my hot weather gear. Smiling, so must be lunchtime
or at least post-caffeine :)
The drenching continues.
You will notice I am under the judge's tent where
it's mostly dryish. Matt is mid-way down the line

PS. Just a word to the wise, if you are staying in Sharpsville, PA, avoid the Quality Inn. Run away like zombies are chasing you.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rain and Waffles

Fashion forward archers, yes ma'am
Inessa is on the right, I'm on the left in the beez
Oh, haiii.

Rain all week, with more in the forecast today. Still shooting, as only two weeks until my first outdoor FITA event. Nervous, as I have a lot of work to do to sort out the longer distances, but have decided this is will be the "first waffle" - the weird waffle that nobody really wants to eat and you just let it go. Just get through it and figure out what's going on and do better at the next one.

Been working out of the garage at Doug's to stay dry, but got to use our 50m lane at home yesterday. It could stand to be baled, but otherwise, it's pretty cool. The little trees to act as a backdrop and it's mowed behind, so you can find your arrows when you miss.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunburnt nose and dirty toes

Me in Alaska. "Here moose moose..."

Shot sooo well this weekend. Been doing the extra workouts, even on archery days and feeling the difference already after only four weeks. Went up 8# to my heavy limbs two Thursdays ago and was feeling the connection that I just can't get with the lighter limbs by last Thursday.

The Hubs mowed the back shooting lane and widened up the whole thing to see if we can squeeze in 70 m. Decided to pick one of the state FITA shoots next door to see how it goes for distance the end of June. JOAD classes are off for a few weeks, so hoping to really buckle down and work in between. Slowly cleaning up my diet as well.  Here is my new go-to power snack. No bake - I put some homemade vanilla in there this time - yum!

We took the kayaks out on one of the big bays off Lake Ontario this afternoon after all the yard work was done. Windy, kinda wavy. We are both sunburnt, tired, and have dirty feet tonight.

Must be summer. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Archery is Beautiful!

Ok, guys and gals! I need your support here! I just signed myself up for the Under Armour "What's Beautiful" Challenge.
So like everything else I do to push myself, I didn't overthink it, just jumped in with both feet. Holy Crap.

Basically, it's a fitness contest, but since this is my fourth week in my fitness overhaul and I'm doing this anyway, might as well get extra credit and maybe win a trip or some awesome workout clothing. My chances are slim, as I'm not a yoga diva or a Tough Mudder chick, but hey, you need to be FIT to shoot a full FITA round with a recurve. No joke.

So to get through the next 6-7 weeks, I'm asking for your support. Visit my page (link up top there) and let me know how I'm doing to promote the awesome sport of archery on a national (and very personal) level.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Meeting at 50 m

Just a snap from last night's JOAD class, after the kids went home the rest of us kept shooting, as it was waay to nice to go home before dark. Was the first night the targets went back to 50 and 70 m. No bugs, perfect temp. Everything is greening up.

Time to get the heavy limbs out.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Roller Coaster

This was a totally unusual week.  Flew to Chicago, watched Boston triumph over insanity, ran a 5K in the snow and wind with some bad-ass girlfriends (not Boston!) and put my dear dog, Brinny, to sleep. Lots of big highs and big lows. Still trying to get my head around some of it.

This week I had the privilege of listening to Jonathan Adler, designer, potter and a guy that owns his own empire. Think gay, Jewish Martha Stewart, only wicked funny. Most of us work in a world- and some of us enforce it- where there are rules and guidelines that take an act of God to change. He controls both halves of the brand vs creativity. It's good to be the king. One of the great things about conferences is that you get to open up your brain and shut off the filters and embrace new and different. My intent was to problem solve for my day job but am finding my notebook filling with great new ideas for quiver designs that push the limits of what you can find anyplace. Not sure where that will end up yet, but please stay tuned for more.

Boston. Still shaking my head as words totally fail me.
This may make you smile. People and dogs making things better there, one belly rub at a time.

Our awesome team - before
Don't let the sun fool you, it was crazy cold out
The Rochester Color Vibe 5K was run in the wind/rain/snow/hail and finished. Still thawing, thank you. Good way to end a crazy week.

Life is short, do something nice for yourself and the ones you love.

Me - after

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Camo Quivers!

Now that we have more daylight, I have more brain for making stuff.  The most recent is this MOLLE military style quiver with a removable pockety.  If you are thinking "Hey, this has no belt or strap? What gives?"  Well heck, if you want this lovely piece all for your ownsome, you tell me which way you want to wear this. If you decide it's a back quiver, we can work in a knife sheath too...

This one will be going up on my Etsy site, Queen Bee Quivers, but if you decide you want this one, let me know if you saw it here first. Will give you a deal since you read this bloggy!

Just bought some henna to apply to my work peeps and another quiver (not at the same time). Should be fun and interesting results. Will post more pics.

The peepers are peepin', the geese are hogging the pond again and it's snowing like crazy. Must be Spring.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Full Day of Win

nope, it's not the merengue version, but ya gotta admit, tasty!
It's been a day chock full of Win here, even though we've lost an hour of sunny goodness.

Sunny. Key word here. Full sun and 66 degrees today. That equals open windows all over the house, grilling, noticing that my chives are already up and edible, and rhubarb merengue pie hot from the oven. The puppers was out in the yard soaking up the sunshine. The geese are moving and honking. Matt swears he heard a red winged blackbird the other day. Officially spring here.

Ahh... itchy scratchy!
I also got to give my pony some snuffly muzzle kisses and breathe in his winter horsey-yak-mud smell. That in itself is enough to give me a full day of Win all by itself.  My legs are tired from my run, in a good way. The Colorvibe 5K I signed up for next month is looming large and I have yet to hit 3 miles, but getting closer and starting to feel the difference. If you are local and want to join our growing team - please let me know!!

Bought a metric ton of veg at Weggs and am currently roasting what will most likely be the last batch of root veg in the oven for the week. My friend Alli got us hooked on big batches of the stuff done on Sunday nights to last for a few days. I've also bought a new blender - our old one was a wedding gift 20 years old now - and am planning to start doing some yummy veg and fruit shakes for breakfast. Hopefully fast and easy in my not-awake-yet stage of the morning. And hoping a lunch that will be um... not skippable. Breakfast this morning was a handful of spinach, part of an avacado and blueberries. Actually, not half bad at all!

Found an organic grass-fed beef grower on the way home from the barn, stopped and picked up some steaks to try the next night it's grillable temps outside. Trying to find ways to eat more healthy. The owner greeted me in her starched Wranglers and southern accent. The real cowgirl deal.

Sourced and ordered all the materials for my new "MOLLE Marine Quiver" project, that someone commissioned. Super geeked about this one. Will post pics when it's done you can see how it comes out.

No archery this weekend. The "other" States doesn't have a category for olympic recurve (Why? I would totally go if they did!) Hoping my friends there had a highly successful event and a rockin good time!

Teaching/shooting at our JOAD club tomorrow night and looking forward to another great time there. We have such a great group on Mondays. Several pairs of parents and kids shooting together (including MOMS) so it's a great dynamic and such a fun way to end a Monday.

Have an excellent week my friends! Viva Spring!

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to "tournament"

So for those of you who have been contemplating maybe shooting a tournament, here's the inside skinny on what really goes down. Off to the NYSAA FITA Championships this morning, so thought it would be fun for you to ride along.

Night before: shot league, tanked, figured out why, shot better. Tightened up sight screws, retaped finger guard and grip with my vetwrap.

Healthy snackins
Before the shoot: Pack up snacks, flat shoes, GPS map to Outer Regions of Buffalo, NY. I like candied ginger, choco chips and plain almonds. Also bringing some oatmeal cookies for our group for snacks, cause I haven't baked in awhile. 10 minutes to take off... waiting for Matt to get out of the shower...

Arrival: Hugs and kisses for friends that are shooting your line or just coming off of it. Find a spot for your stuff, grab your score card and hit the registration table to get your bale assignment and check in. Hang your target, find pencil and calculator (I hate doing running scoring.)

12:00: Snack, chat and set up equipment, stretch out. Have more cookies. Repeat.

12:25:  Line Judge gives rules with A/B lines and warning lights and whistles. This is a double game tournament, so 60 arrows, with 450 as your perfect score. Compounders have to hit the X for a 10, recurves get the middle circle for a 10. It's nice to have an even mix of the two at this shoot for a change. One of the reasons I like this one.

12:30:  Whistle blows, A line (top) goes up to the line to do the first set of practice ends, we switch and then go pull. Repeat

12:40: Go time. Take a few breaths to steady the butterflies and shoot. Only three arrows. Mark the holes before you pull (which is important if you forget to pull them and then shoot another three - and no, that wasn't me since I know you are asking) If the lines are long, like Nationals, you have a very large space full of arrows smacking the bales - really loud!

Shoot, score, repeat.  There are two people scoring, one person calling the scores and the sheets have to match at the end (hence the running scoring) It's easy to mess it up, not hear the caller right, etc. I usually manage to muck it up somehow. Hopefully you have chill people on your card with you - I usually know at least one person and was lucky to shoot with my friend Inessa on this day.

If it's a really big shoot, they post all the scores out as soon as possible using live scoring or if it's more local-ish, you check back in a week or so to see where you ended up in the pack. Hopefully, you shot your best and didn't run into any equipment failures.

Turn in your cards, pack up. Go home. Enjoy frosty adult beverage. Repeat.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Nock Out TV - Looking for a few good faces

So you wanna be on tv? Can you shoot? Do you look good in a closeup at full draw? If you answered "Yes" to all of these things, you should hurry up and put your application in. 

Looks like it closes in a few days, so don't delay...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And the Liebster goes to...

Went off to San Francisco for the week and got caught in the big snow storm on the way back. After a fun packed layover in Chicago, I thankfully arrived home. Been neglecting my blog for a few weeks, but my fellow blogger Tara at Artemis and Friends Archery Co made my day today with a Liebster Award. Very sweet!

So here goes...
My 11 random answers about myself:
1. I went to school to be a painter
2. I have been shooting for 6 years now.
3. My bow is a Win & Win, which is a bit rare in the US.
4. I believe that competitive beard growing should not be a sport.
5. Dogs.
6. I used to play the flute and the violin. Just not at the same time.
7. In the last week I have read three books on the plane. The Silver Linings Playbook, Life of PI and Fearless- One Woman, One Kayak
8. I am attempting to learn how to make homemade wine, but it's taken 6 weeks to get the "forgotten instructions" from the kit. Now that I have it... look out Napa Valley.
9. One of my bucket list items is to kayak around Isle Royale in Lake Superior. One of my others is to learn to do a proper Greenland roll in a kayak first before I paddle there.
10.  I sound exactly like Adele whilst singing in the car
11. I've learned to ride a decent dressage test and jump over a 3' gate on horseback.

 Ok, next batch:

  1. What was your worst vacation? No such thing. Always a good break from reality. Did come back from Mexico to no power and an ice storm once.
  2. What's the oddest way you've ever made a friend? A friend introduced me to his ex-girlfriend because he thought we had a lot in common. :)
  3. How do you feel about going to the movies alone? It makes me sad. Like a date gone wrong.
  4. Give me your best conversation starter. Hey, how are you? Ok, it's lame but it works. I'm more of an introvert.
  5. Where do you fall in the birth order:  Eldest?  Youngest?  Only child?  Do you think people can tell? Oldest. And yes, probably. Especially when we stand next to each other.
  6. Give me your best conversation killer. Yes.
  7. Give me the heart of Snow White in a box. I cannot kill something so fair. Same goes for deer and so forth.
  8. Got a favourite folk- or fairy-tale?  Baba Yaga. And the book of fairy tales we had as kids that had the non-Disney versions of the B-roll stories.
  9. What did you make in shop class or home ec.? I had both in Jr. High. In wood shop, we made a wall candle holder with a mirror that didn't turn out too badly. In home ec, we made a hand sewn felt pillow in the shape of a sundae. Did a better job on the pillow, but I still like the smell of sawdust.
  10. Have you ever gotten anything from Craigslist? Nope. Fun to look tho. I keep thinking I will list my vintage sewing machine and my old english saddle and make some room.
  11. What's your cocktail of choice? Lately anything with pisco in it or Pimm's Cup.

11 new questions for the next group...follow the format. Lights, small dress, big hair. "And the Leibsters go to... drum roll please..."

Steph from ::Steph Chows::
Gin at GinGetz
Nils Visser
John at The Infinite Curve

1. Connery or Craig?
2. What color car do you usually buy? Red, Black, White or Grey?
3. Do you brown bag or buy your lunch?
4. What was the last book you read?
5. Dogs or cats?
6. Chocolate or coffee?
7. What is your favorite quote?
8. What motivates you?
9. What scares the bejesus out of you?
10. Name two of your bucket list items
11. Who was your best friend when you were 10 and the worst thing you got away with together?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Funniest Quivers

Cupcake boot quiver?
John from The Infinite Curve gave me the idea to find out what is the most fun quiver you have used or made yourself.  My favorite was a boot from my coaches garage that was a tall, rubber camo boot. Worked a treat.

What creative, funny or otherwise outlandish things have you done to keep your arrows handy and out of the dirt? Email me pics if you have them, but please post and let us all know your best quiver story.

My work schedule for the next few weeks is a bit heartburn inducing, so hoping to get some practice time in somehow. Even if just in my head with a stretchy band.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Practice anywhere, anytime

That weird thing on the right under the plastic is a
photo enlarger for film. Free to a good home...

If you are serious about practice time, you probably have shot in a few makeshift places. Down the hallway, through the garage, out a window, in the apartment... Occasionally you might get lucky and have a fancy place with a fireplace.

I have the basement. Firstly, it's about 10 yards-ish. Secondly, I have to first pick up the cat crap from our old cat who refuses to poop in the litterbox anymore. It usually gets deposited where I set my bow while pulling arrows.

So my limbs comes up between the joists and the heating ductwork, the right side of my butt has to be up against the carpet steamer. One of the local-ish shops has clutter like you've never seen all down the line, so it's practical practice, yeah.

I do like the target set up. They are all new and shiny and are nice and loud when the arrow gives it a good smack. Matt put up a piece of old carpet as a backstop to stop the misses from flying back at my head. Not good for relaxation. It used to freak me out and bent a few decent arrows from hitting the concrete wall.

There is a kick-ass tune center, and by that I mean my old iphone on a speaker jack, that sits on top of the dehumidifier. Sometimes it runs, and you can usually hear the water running into the sump crock. If you listen to it, it will eventually make you have to pee.  There is no fireplace, however there IS a water heater.

It's without a view and stinks of cats, but it's free and I can wear my sweats and comfy slippers if I want to.  My outdoor target is covered in snow, and it's only 21 degrees out right now. And pitch dark.

Do you have a spot at home to practice, a dorm room, the back of a pickup truck?

Pumpin' tunes