Girls and Guns: A Day in the Life Sunday

Annie get your gun. I have mine. Annie Oakley shot a Winchester1873 .44-40 caliber factory-made rifle. I am shooting a Smith and Wesson 9mm.

I bought my LadySmith in 1990-something when the Army was switching from the .45 to the 9 mm. For the military, it meant standardizing NATO ammunition. For a female officer with something to prove, it meant frequent trips to the Rod and Gun Club to meet up with my favorite Vietnam Veterans and practice until I was spot on.

I haven't fired much since separating from the military but when a new indoor range recently opened in town, the husband and I headed out to get a few shots in.

I settled into a groove warming up with a .22. Shot by shot, it all came back - steady breathing, even pressure, and a clean trigger pull. Moving up to the 9mm, my shot groups were close to center and respectable.

I still got it.

This weekend I took a pistol class to refresh my foundational skills and I plan to take a permit to carry class. It was a thoughtful (non-political) decision to ensure that I am confident and able handle myself in a self defense situation. Self defense is important and it's not just for male homeowners anymore.

Men and women who haven't had a lot of exposure to shooting are often surprised to know that there is more to shooting than self defense.

Shooting in a safe, controlled environment is fun; shooting requires a focus that, coupled with precision and required ear-protection, is guaranteed to quiet an active mind. Nothing beats the confidence of learning a new skill and improving upon it.

People learn to shoot and sharpen their skills for many different reasons. When it comes down to it, I am because I can.

Girls and Guns, by Lisa Rosendahl, first appeared on

The Little Plaid Skirt

I have been in the workforce long enough to see coworkers retire. Not the old geezers I thought were taking up space when I was much newer to the workforce, but experienced and contributing colleagues and friends.

A colleague retired last week. When I saw her in the hallway on her last day, I noticed her smiling ear to ear commenting on the sun's appearance (just like the rest of Minnesota) and then, I noticed her clothes.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

She was dressed TOM casual.

For a woman who usually dressed as though she stepped out of an Ann Taylor look book and tended to the serious side, this brief interaction was striking. I had flash thoughts of dress codes, work personalities and the impact of a simple smile.

Then, I thought of the nuns.

I attended Catholic school for a few years in the 1970s. My nuns didn't fly. They ran a tight ship with rules, rulers and uniforms.

I wore a uniform. Every day. Every day except for one. My family was moving during the school year so this second grader was permitted to wear regular (new!) clothes on her last day with the nuns.

I remember it clearly.

I wore a red and black plaid kilt-style wool skirt with a large safety style pin in the front to keep it from flying open. Was it fringed? Did I wear it with a black t-shirt or crisp white collared shirt embellished with more pins and long white socks?

I remember my friends gathering around to see my new clothes. I remember energy, confidence and kindness. I remember looking down at my new shoes, swishing my skirt, and loving the style.

I remember feeling pretty.

I remember melting like butter a few years ago when my young daughter choose a dress because "It makes me feel pretty, momma."

I am going to take these memories and spring clean the heck out of the clothes in my closet.

I grant you the permission to do the same.

The Little Plaid Skirt, by Lisa Rosendahl, first appeared on